A huge THANK YOU from NHS Wales to the Cyber Wales community
30th March 2020

Last Wednesday at 4pm Cyber Wales received a request for help from NHS Wales.

We immediately sent out a CALL TO ACTION to the 2,000+ members of the Cyber Wales Ecosystem, this is what it said...

As you can imagine, the medical staff have really got their hands full at the moment but they are not the only ones. The IT staff, short-handed as they are, are up to their ears in work as well. Many of the hospitals and medical centres around Wales have just received new Desktops and Laptops which will be a massive help as they tackle the increasing demand. However, may of the contractors that they use to handle much of the basic workload, such as imaging, configuration and securing new end points have downed tools, either through being short-staffed or through unwillingness to travel.

Just to give you an idea of the scale of the problem, one hospital just took delivery of 1,000 machines and they have no-one to set them up. That is just one hospital and this situation obviously exists all over Wales (in an NHS building near you!)

So… Are any of you able and willing to lend a hand?

This could be visiting sites to set up machines or dialling into sites to set up by RDP or it could be receiving machines, setting them up and sending them back again – or any possible solutions you can think of that will achieve the same result. It could also be any bright ideas or best practice you may have been involved with (such as clever ways to set up mass PXE builds) that would help the onsite teams to do this job faster.

All hands to the pumps folks, your NHS needs you at this most trying of times. Please respond directly to Nick Lewis. I’m sure most of you know Nick from the Cluster meetings and the amazing talk he gave about cyber challenges in NHS Wales last year – well, things are even more challenging right now and he’d love to hear from you.

Within an hour Nick had received over 200 emails with offers of support from IT SysAdmins and Cyber folks from right across Wales – from Bangor to Wrexham and from Pembroke to Chepstow and all over Mid Wales. Word continued to spread and through Thursday and Friday there was a steady stream of volunteers including people from outside of Wales such as the MoD in Bristol. Other networks also picked up the call such as the DevOpsGroup and DCMS which was a huge help taking the total number of volunteers to over 400!

The Alacrity Foundation, who have a long-standing relationship with the Cyber Clusters, stepped up to the plate and helped to communicate the challenge to the NCSC i100 Network – proving the strength in depth of the collaborative networks in Wales and beyond.

This morning NHS Wales released a special Thank You message to Cyber Wales – let’s keep the momentum up folks and help the people who are trying to help us! .

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