Non-emergency patients told to avoid Southport hospital unless absolutely necesarry as hackers strike NHS

Non-emergency patients told to avoid Southport hospital unless absolutely necesarry as hackers strike NHS

by Ollie Cowan (May 2017)

SOUTHPORT Hospital has been thrown into total chaos after a computer hack brought down the NHS on Friday (May 12).

The Champion understands from sources at the Town Lane based hospital that a nationwide hack on the NHS Mainframe had brought chaos and confusion to the trust – leaving many ambulances backed up at A&E, doctors unable to carry out certain procedures such as x-rays and scans and fears that private patient data had been stolen.

There are also reports that the NHS is being held to ransom over patient data which has allegedly been taken in the attack.

A spokesperson for Southport Hospital told the Champion that provisions are currently in place to manage and coordinate a response, with some non-emergency patients being told to avoid the hospital unless absolutely necessary.

They state: “If you have an outpatient appointment tomorrow, please do not attend. We will telephone you on Monday to re-arrange.

“Please avoid A&E if it's possible and safe to do so.

“Ormskirk hospital switchboard is unavailable, you can contact wards directly via their direct lines. You can find these on our website under Patients and Visiters - Visiting Times

“Maternity and women's health are open as normal.”

Doctors and nurses have been ‘drip fed’ information from managers at the hospital but word soon got out that a cyber attack had all but crippled the computer system at Southport Hospital.

There are also fears that some GP services may be affected as well.

A source at Southport Hospital told the Champion: “It’s anarchy and the A&E unit looks like a warzone.

“The hack happened earlier today and one by one the sytems went down. We were unable to perform x-rays and some scans because of it.

“We are crippled. It’s not something we want to do but we are telling people to stay away unless it’s absolutely necessary.

“Preston Royal and Blackpool are also affected majorly by it.

“We believe patient data has been taken – or at least that’s what the hackers are claiming.

“Ambulances are queuing out the door because they can’t leave patients waiting.

“It’s just utter chaos.”

A spokesperson for NHS Digital said: "A number of NHS organisations have reported to NHS Digital that they have been affected by a ransomware attack.

“The investigation is at an early stage but we believe the malware variant is Wanna Decryptor.

“At this stage we do not have any evidence that patient data has been accessed. We will continue to work with affected organisations to confirm this.

“NHS Digital is working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre, the Department of Health and NHS England to support affected organisations, ensure patient safety is protected and to recommend appropriate mitigations.

“This attack was not specifically targeted at the NHS and is affecting organisations from across a range of sectors.

“Our focus is on supporting organisations to manage the incident swiftly and decisively, but we will continue to communicate with NHS colleagues and will share more information as it becomes available.”



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