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Over 800 operations hit after cyberattack on London hospitals

More than 800 planned operations and 700 outpatient appointments were rearranged in the first week after a cyber attack hit London hospitals, it has been revealed.

The disruption was caused when hackers targeted pathology services provider Synnovis.

Two NHS trusts were affected the most – King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust – NHS England said.

Medical director Dr Chris Streather warned the disruption would be felt “for some time”.

‘Working round the clock’
According to NHS London, five planned C-sections were rescheduled and 18 organs were diverted for use by other trusts, while 736 hospital outpatient appointments and 125 community outpatient appointments had to be postponed.

Optional blood-borne virus (HIV, Hep C and Hep B) tests are currently suspended.

Primary care appointments are going ahead as normal, but blood tests are being prioritised for urgent cases.

Dr Streather said staff were “working round the clock” to mitigate the impact.

Synnovis is also working to recover its IT system, he added.

The impact of the attack has seen a significant reduction in the number of tests which can be processed and reported back to clinical teams.

NHS England London declared a regional incident and has been working to cover affected services by using neighbouring providers and national partners.

The measures include ensuring patients needing time-sensitive care can receive it, including having operations at other hospitals; re-routing blood tests from GP surgeries; and working with NHS Blood and Transplant to provide extra stocks of “universal” blood types, which do not require patients to have tests before receiving transfusions.

Urgent and emergency services in the local area are available as usual and patients have been advised to access services in the normal way.

People with O Positive and O Negative blood types are still being asked to donate over the next few weeks.

NHS England London has said it will now publish unverified management information on a weekly basis, with the next update on 21 June.

It also warned that in ransomware attacks, there is always a risk that people’s data can be accessed and “investigations are continuing to establish any possible impact”. BBC

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