Windows XP still in widespread use throughout the NHS

Citrix Freedom of Information request reveals half of trusts are still unsure as to when they will upgrade to more-secure system

Freedom of Information request from Citriz asked NHS trusts when they were planning to upgrade from Windows XP

  • 90% are still using the system, despite Microsoft encouraging a move to Windows 7, 8 or 10
  • Half of all organisations are unsure when they will switch
  • 14% of trusts will transition by the end of the year
  • New research has revealed that Windows XP is still being widely used across the NHS, despite plans to upgrade to a newer operating system.

    Data taken from a Freedom of Information request by Citrix to 63 NHS trusts showed that 90% of the 42 organisations that responded still use the system, with half unsure as to when they will migrate.

    Technology such as desktop and application virtualisation has the ability to drive up the productivity potential of the entire workforce, delivering better patient care and ultimately making it easier for staff to work more efficiently

    Windows XP was introduced in 2001 and has not received official security updates since April 2014.

    However, it remains in use - sometimes in large deployments - despite a significant effort from Microsoft to persuade organisations to move to Windows 7, 8 or 10.

    14% of trusts indicated that they would be transitioning to a new operating system by the end of this year; with nearly a third - 29% - claiming they will make the move some time next year.

    Citrix issued the same Freedom of Information request to 35 NHS trusts in July 2014, with 100% of responding trusts admitting they were reliant on Windows XP. Back then, 74% of trusts claimed they were planning to migrate their last device from Windows XP in March 2015.

    Demonstrating a more-positive viewpoint, the findings did reveal that nearly one in four – 23% - of trusts are deploying desktop virtualisation technology to address migrating to Windows XP - up 18% on July 2014.

    By adopting such virtualisation technologies, NHS trusts can:

    • Centralise the management of desktop environments, accelerating the transition from Windows XP and providing the ability to deliver upgrades and patches onto operating systems
    • Virtualise applications, removing the pain of migrating applications built for Windows XP to newer operating systems. A centralised approach for application and desktop management is more efficient and cost effective than transitioning on a computer by computer basis
    • Increase productivity by giving staff secure access to data and applications, wherever and whenever they need them on the device of their choice, speeding up the delivery of care whether it be in the community or in a hospital

    Jon Cook, director of sales at Citrix, said: “The British public champion the NHS for its staff’s unwavering dedication and commitment to delivering first-class patient services.

    “However, with prolonged austerity – and following the Brexit vote - it is under even more pressure to do more with less.

    “Technology such as desktop and application virtualisation has the ability to drive up the productivity potential of the entire workforce, delivering better patient care and ultimately making it easier for staff to work more efficiently.

    With the health sector accounting for the most data security breaches across all public sector departments, it is critical that up-to-date and secure software is in place to safeguard patient data against cyber attackers

    “While many authorities now only use a small number of devices that run Windows XP, the transition to a newer operating system needs to happen as a matter of urgency.

    “With the health sector accounting for the most data security breaches across all public sector departments, it is critical that up-to-date and secure software is in place to safeguard patient data against cyber attackers.”

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