Disruption warning at Munro Medical Centre in Spalding.

Global computer hack leads to disruption for NHS patients in county

NHS patients in South Lincolnshire have faced days of disruption following an international cyber attack.

Hundreds of appointments were cancelled and only emergency work carried out at many NHS organisations nationwide after computers went down on Friday.

On Tuesday (May 16), it was understood that no South Holland GP surgery was yet offering a full “business as usual” service and patients were being urged to attend only if urgent.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, which runs Pilgrim Hospital, said some systems were still down but booked appointments were continuing unless specifically notified. Initially following Friday’s attack even some emergency cases were being transferred to other hospitals by the trust.

Dr Graham Wheatley, senior partner at Munro Medical Centre in Spalding, said on Tuesday: “We want to help people but are much more constrained in what we can safely do without the computer system.”
The surgery was managing to see around a third of its usual 400 patients per day during the disruption.

Ciaran Martin, CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre, said there was no evidence patient data had been stolen.

On Friday, he said: “Today we have seen a set of global cyber attacks against thousands of organisations and individuals in dozens of countries.
“The National Cyber Security Centre is working round the clock with UK and international partners and with private sector experts to lead the response to these cyber attacks.

“The picture is emerging that this is affecting multiple countries and sectors and is not solely targeted at the NHS.
“It is important that organisations reduce the risks of these attacks happening to them.
“There are three pieces of important advice to help protect your organisation: make sure your security software patches are up to date, make sure that you are running proper anti-virus software, back up your data somewhere else because you can’t be held to ransom if you’ve got the data somewhere else.”

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