Horizon: The Day the NHS Died

We all watched in shock as the NHS was forced  to shut hospitals, send patients home, cancel operations and close surgeries due to the WannaCry ransomware that disabled many of the NHS systems in mid May 2017.

The BBC Horizon programme “The Day the NHS Died” tells the story of what happened – how the NHS coped and the guys who stopped the ransomware in its tracks.

The presenter, Kevin Fong,  is a doctor so the programme was very much about the medical effects of what happened.  The attack started on May1 2th and rapidly spread across the NHS because of certain old computers still on the network and newer computers that weren’t up to date with security patches.

Much of the NHS relies heavily on computer systems – especially radiology  and once the attack was recognised much of that equipment had to be turned off to prevent the attack spreading to those systems as well.

The two guys who stopped the attack work in cyber security and looked at the ransomware code and discovered a website address which turned out to be an off switch for the ransomware and they used it to stop the attacks.

The programme is interesting but also worrying at how badly the NHS fared compared to other organisations. There’s a lot of work to do on the NHS computer systems to make them secure and that means a lot of money needed.

Watch now on iPlayer at


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