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One-fifth of NHS trusts hit by WannaCry ransomware

One-fifth of NHS trusts have been hit by the global ransomware campaign on Friday, which has also taken down the IT systems of GP surgeries and dental practices across the country.

The ransomware, believed to be a variant of the WanaCrypt0r malware, has affected systems in 100 countries, and has also struck big corporations, including the owner of mobile network O2, Spanish telecoms company Telefonica.

A total of 48 trusts in England, as well as 13 NHS bodies in Scotland have been hit by Friday’s attacks, resulting in cancelled operations and appointments, a loss of access to important medical records, and in some cases, the diversion of emergency services.

Several trusts were still experiencing issues yesterday including London’s Barts Health NHS Trust, East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, United Lincolnshire Hospital NHS Trust, University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust and York Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The biggest trust, Barts NHS Trust is believed to be the hardest hit – reportedly having to redirect ambulances away from three of its AE units and cancel non-urgent operations. The organisation was still in the midst of recovering from another IT failure which had led to it cancelling 136 operations and hundreds of chemotherapy appointments.

In a statement this morning, the trust said that it was no longer diverting ambulances away from any of its hospitals and that trauma and stroke care is also fully operational. Some of its planned surgery and outpatient appointments will be continuing, while other patients will be notified if their appointments are cancelled. The organisation said it continues to experience IT disruption and urged the public to use other NHS services where possible.

Yesterday, Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust gave an update to its patients – it asked for patients who were scheduled for surgery today to not attend unless they have been directly contacted. All outpatients and endoscopy appointments have also been cancelled, as have routine MRI and CT scans. Dialysis patients are told to attend as usual, while the pregnancy assessment unit will also be open, the trust said.

Meanwhile West Lancashire clinical commissioning group (CCG) said that all GP practices within the region would remain open but warned patients that doctors “may not have full access to patient records, prescriptions and appointment systems”.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, which had been a victim of the attack, is back in working order – with all operations and appointments set to go ahead. The organisation said there was no indication that data or information relating to the trust was affected in the cyber-attack.

Two-hours ago, James Paget NHS Trust said a large number of its IT systems were being brought back up online. The trust, along with York Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, said that most surgery and outpatients appointments would go ahead, and that patients whose appointments had been cancelled would be notified. 

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust said it would be cancelling all routine activity in its hospitals for today, including outpatient appointments, diagnostic tests and routine operations. Chemotherapy treatments will go ahead as planned as will all antenatal and maternity scan appointments.

Both United Lincolnshire Hospitals, and University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trusts have urged the public to only come to AE “if it is a life threatening or emergency situation”.


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