Hospitals at standstill amid cyber attack

Friday

An ambulance parked outside the Accident and Emergency department (A & E) at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. Picture: AFP

A MASSIVE cyber attack has plunged the NHS into chaos as computers across the country shut down forcing patients to be turned away from A&E.

The Sun reports that the large-scale attack has caused “significant problems” with IT systems and telephone networks, with 16 hospital trusts affected.

The “ransomware” computer attack is demanding $300 in electronic currency to free files from encryption.

This is screengrab taken from the website of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS trust as Britain's National Health Service is investigating "an issue with IT". Picture: AP

This is screengrab taken from the website of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS trust as Britain’s National Health Service is investigating “an issue with IT”. Picture: APSource:AP

There are reports that trusts and hospitals affected include North Cumbria, Morecambe Bay hospitals, Blackpool, Barts Health in London, Colchester, Greater Manchester and Derbyshire.

GPs are being forced to use pen and paper while the issue is being worked on, according to the Blackpool Gazette.

Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, which sees 4000 patients a day across Derbyshire and parts of Leicestershire, said all of its IT systems had been “shut down”.

East and North Hertfordshire NHS also confirmed they experienced a “major IT problem, believed to be caused by a cyber attack”.

They added in a statement: “Immediately on discovery of the problem, the trust acted to protect its IT systems by shutting them down; it also meant that the trust’s telephone system is not able to accept incoming calls.

This file photo shows an Accident and Emergency department (A & E) sign is pictured at St Thomas' Hospital in London. Picture: AFP

This file photo shows an Accident and Emergency department (A & E) sign is pictured at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

“The trust is postponing all non-urgent activity for today and is asking people not to come to A & E — please ring NHS111 for urgent medical advice or 999 if it is a life-threatening emergency.

“To ensure that all back-up processes and procedures were put in place quickly, the trust declared a major internal incident to make sure that patients already in the trust’s hospitals continued to receive the care they need.”

NHS England confirmed they were aware of the problem and would be releasing details soon.

NHS Digital said: “We’re aware that a number of trusts that have reported potential issues to the CareCERT team. We believe it to be ransomware.”

This article originally appeared in The Sun

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