The NHS has been plagued by more than 8,000 computer viruses over the past year, says More4 News.

According to research by the broadcaster, prompted by the Mytob worm attack that bought computer networks at St Bartholomews, the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel and the London Chest hospital in Bethnal Green to a standstill in November last year, 12 of the 8,000 incidents affected patient care.

More4 News also said that some NHS trusts admitted that attacks took place because of anti-virus software was turned-off or not configured properly, as was the case in the November Mytob attack, while others blamed automatic windows updates that had been switched off.

Professor Ross Anderson of the University of Cambridge told More4 News: "Where you find infections of computers, it's very often symptomatic of poor management of IT, just as when you find infections with MRSA and C-difficile, that's a symptom of poor management of the hospital, of poor management of hygiene and such basic things as cleaning the floors."

The research also revealed that infected computers are also being targeted by hackers to steal personal information.

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See also: Hospital chief slams £12bn NHS IT system