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robot surgeonBetween 2010 and 2017, the number of prostate cancer centres at NHS hospitals offering robotic surgery has more than tripled – increasing from 1 in 5 (12 of 65) centres in 2010 to over three quarters (42 of 49) this year. This has been due to the centralisation of complex cancer surgery into fewer, high-volume units as well as the rise in the number of men attracted to centres offering robot-assisted radical prostatectomy.

Of the 16 centres that closed in that time, none offered robotic surgery. The rise of robotic surgery has occurred despite a lack of evidence of improved outcomes in terms of survival and side effects for the new technology compared to traditional open surgery. Experts writing in The Lancet Oncology journal this month said that, as a result, better regulation is needed to assess technology delivery in the NHS, and that quality indicators should be made available to inform patient choice.

medical apps for patientsPatients in England will also be able to enter symptoms online and receive tailored advice or a call back from a health professional. The NHS.uk website will allow patients to book appointments, access medical records and order prescriptions. The initiatives are part of moves towards a paperless NHS.

It was announced in February this year that £4bn had been set aside for the IT initiative. The new online triage system is part of an expansion of the current NHS 111 non-emergency phone line service. The service is being developed with leading clinicians and will be piloted before the public can use it.

The re-launched NHS website will also allow patients to compare how well their local health services perform in areas of dementia, diabetes and learning disability services. Data on maternity, cancer and mental health data will be added in the autumn. The site will also have a new collection of NHS-approved health apps to guide patient choice.

Hundreds more survive Heart FailureImprovements in patient care mean hundreds more people are surviving heart failure, a new independent study has found. A report published on 10th Aug 2017 has found that the mortality rate for people admitted to hospital with heart failure has dropped from 9.6 per cent to 8.9 per cent. The reduction in the mortality rate means that in the region of 500 lives have been saved in the past year compared to 2014/15.

An assessment of patients admitted to hospital with heart failure at NHS Trusts also shows that more people are being provided with crucial medicines for heart disease as well as greater access to treatment by heart specialists. Acute heart failure is a life threatening condition, which as well as immediate danger to life can have significant long-term consequences for people. Tackling heart failure is becoming a more significant challenge for the NHS due to the ageing population.

cyber security Lab for UKThe Medical Device Innovation, Safety and Security Consortium (MDISS) has already launched the World Health Information Security Testing Lab (WHISTL) in the US, which examines complex multi-vendor, multi-device critical care environments like hospital intensive care units, operating theatres and emergency rooms.

The facility is the first of more than a dozen planned device security testing labs and cyber-ranges.

The new WHISTL facilities will include a federated network of medical device security testing labs, independently owned and operated by MDISS member organisations.

Each facility will launch and operate under a shared set of operating procedures. WHISTL facilities will help organisations work together to effectively address the public health challenges arising from cybersecurity issues emergent in complex, multi-vendor networks of medical devices.

The WannaCry cyber attack on the NHS was no doubt devastating, but it could have been a lot worse and should serve as a wake-up call.

ransomwear hackers attack NHSThere's no denying that WannaCry, the "biggest ransomware outbreak in history", was devastating to the NHS, affecting around 48 hospitals and trusts up and down the UK.

NHS computers were among tens of thousands around the world hit by ransomware demands of around $300, stopping staff from doing their jobs and putting lives at risk.  The cost of the attack is still racking up for the NHS in terms of lost productivity, cancelled appointments, IT infrastructure upgrades and more, but the saving grace from the whole saga is that the attackers did not steal any key data from the NHS.

While ransomware halts your systems, data theft is a far more dangerous threat. Once data has left the perimeter of your company's network, the consequences can be much more severe because, as an organisation, you will never be able to gain total control of that data again.

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