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Hospitals and GPs hit by cyber-attack

Appointments and operations cancelled after ransomware found in IT systems

Mark Gould

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Operations and outpatients appointments have been cancelled after hospitals and GP practices run by NHS Lanarkshire were hit by a cyber-attack.

The health board NHS said that a new variant of Bitpaymer infected its network on Friday. The board said staff worked over the weekend to reinstate IT systems.

Work is ongoing to establish how the malware was able to infiltrate the network without being detected. Operations were cancelled and the work of GPs was disrupted.

In a statement, the board said it "took immediate action" to put a solution in place and minimise disruption. Patients are asked not to attend hospital unless it is essential.

It is unclear whether the health board was deliberately targeted.

NHS Lanarkshire was one of the worst-hit health authorities in Scotland in the widespread Wannacry cyber-attacks in May.

However, a spokeswoman for the health board said the current issues were "not on the same scale".

She said a number of appointments and procedures had been postponed as a result of the current issues, but there were "no concerns around emergency treatments".

NHS Lanarkshire chief executive, Calum Campbell, said: "We quickly identified the source of the malware and investigations are ongoing as to how this was able to infiltrate our network.

"Our staff have worked hard to minimise the impact on patients and our contingency plans have ensured we have been able to continue to deliver services while the IT issues were resolved. A small number of systems were affected with the majority restored over the weekend and the remainder on Monday."

"Unfortunately, a small number of procedures and appointments were cancelled as a result of the incident. I would like to apologise to anyone who has been affected by this disruption. We immediately started work to reappoint patients to the earliest possible appointments."

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