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by Sofia Villegas
07 May 2024
Scottish Government open to giving financial help to NHS board hit by cyber-attack

Neil Gray became the health secretary in February | Alamy

Scottish Government open to giving financial help to NHS board hit by cyber-attack

Health secretary Neil Gray has said he would be “receptive” to providing emergency funding to NHS Dumfries and Galloway to allow the health board to recover from a recent data leak.

Gray addressed the matter in the chamber after Labour MSP Colin Smyth queried what the government’s response was to the cyber-attack. 

Earlier today, the board announced a ransomware group had published “large amounts” of data on the dark web following a cyber-attack in late February.

It is now known some children’s mental health data was among the information leaked. 

Answering Tory MSP Oliver Mundell on whether the government would provide financial aid so the board could focus on solving the cyber issue rather than “balancing books”, Grey said: “Our teams continue to work with boards across the country on their financial resilience and should there be particular asks, then of course I would be receptive to at least hearing them, even during the very difficult financial situation we're all facing across the public sector. I may not be able to commit to be fully able to realise those.”

Facing questions on what had caused the attack, Gray said he was “limited” on what he could say as the incident is under an ongoing police investigation. 

He said local MSPs had been “briefed” and a statement had been issued to the staff and the public. 

He added: “As we have seen from cyber-attacks conducted elsewhere, this is an incredibly difficult time to defend against what are increasingly sophisticated actors that are looking to infiltrate our systems, including the Ministry of Defence most recently. 

“All we can do is continue to support and learn from the situations that have gone past and ensure our resilience is as strong as possible. 

“This is what the Scottish Government will continue to do across health boards and public sector organisations going forward."

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Read the most recent article written by Sofia Villegas - Cyber gang leaks 400GB of NHS data on the dark web.

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