Procedures cancelled after cyber attack affects major London hospitals

todayJune 4, 2024 2

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Procedures cancelled after cyber attack affects major London hospitals

A number of procedures have been cancelled or redirected to other NHS providers after a cyber attack affected major hospitals in the capital.

King’s College Hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’, including the Royal Brompton and the Evelina London Children’s Hospital, and primary care services were hit by the “major IT incident” involving pathology partner Synnovis, letters sent to NHS staff said.

Trusts reported the incident was having a “major impact” on the delivery of services, with blood transfusions particularly affected.

Some procedures and operations have been cancelled or have been redirected to other NHS providers as hospital bosses continue to establish what work can be carried out safely.

One patient, Oliver Dowson, 70, was prepared for an operation from 6am on Monday at Royal Brompton when he was told by a surgeon at about 12.30pm that it would not be going ahead.

“The staff on the ward didn’t seem to know what had happened, just that many patients were being told to go home and wait for a new date,” he said to the PA news agency.

“I’ve been given a date for next Tuesday and am crossing my fingers – it’s not the first time that they have cancelled, they did it on 28 May too, but that was probably staff shortages in half-term week,” he said.

A spokesman for King’s College Hospital in London confirmed it was affected.

The cyber incident is thought to have occurred on Monday, meaning some departments could not connect to their main server.

Several senior sources have told the Health Service Journal (HSJ) the system has been the victim of a ransomware attack.

One said gaining access to pathology results could take “weeks, not days”.

“Non-essential transfusions were paused when the incident emerged,” said Sky News’ science and technology editor Tom Clarke.

“Anyone needing emergency transfusions, they’re having to proceed with pen and paper as I understand it. Obviously, that will slow down the matching of blood and things like that.”

Synnovis, the partner involved in the major incident, was formed from a partnership between SYNLAB UK & Ireland, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Synnovis describes itself as “one of the largest pathology service providers in the UK” and aims to improve patient outcomes through “faster testing services and state-of-the-art laboratories”, according its website.

There have been a number of recent attacks of NHS groups.

Last month, a ransomware group released stolen patient data onto the dark web after an attack on NHS Dumfries and Galloway in March.

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Julie White, chief executive of NHS Dumfries and Galloway, branded it an “utterly abhorrent criminal act”.

“We should not be surprised at this outcome, as this is in line with the way these criminal groups operate,” she said.

The health board is urging the public to be alert for any attempts to access their work and personal data.

Written by: Newsroom

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