Major NHS IT outage to last for three weeks

Major NHS IT outage to last for three weeks
Cyber attack has targeted NHS systems used to dispatch ambulances and could last for weeks, NHS staff told

A major outage of NHS IT systems is expected to last for more than three weeks, leaving doctors unable to see patients notes, The Independent has learned.

A cyber attack on a major supplier of IT systems to the NHS may leave hospitals without access to patients records for more than three weeks, according to an email to hospital staff seen by The Independent.

Oxford Health Foundation Trust, has declared a critical incident over the outage and has told staff it is putting emregency plans in place.

In an email to staff, Oxford Health Foundation Trust chief executive Nick Broughton, said: “The cyber attack targeted systems used to refer patients for care, including ambulances being dispatched, out-of-hours appointment bookings, triage, out of hours care, emergency prescriptions and safety alerts. It also targeted the finance system used by the Trust.

“We have now been advised that we should prepare for a system outage that could continue for two weeks for Adastra and possibly longer than three weeks for Carenotes.”

The note to staff on Tuesday added the impact on services has been and will continue to be “considerable” in the days ahead.

It added: “Recovery from this cyber-attack will take a huge amount of work and effort and plans are being drawn up to manage this.”

The trust said staff had cancelled leave and worked through the night to try and resolve the problems.

The Independent understands several similar notes have been shared with staff accross other hospitals, with dozens of trusts impacted.

Last week reports revealed NHS IT supplier Advance which provides electronic patient record systems to NHS organisations had been hit by a cyber attack.

Reports last week revealed NHS 111 and GP out of hours services had been hit by a cyber attack on systems provided by Advanced called Adastra and Carenotes.

Carenotes is used specifically by community, mental heatlh and child health services and The Independent has been told by several sources around 30 NHS trusts are likely to have been impacted.

On Friday Advance’s chief operating officer Simon Short confirmed the incident was related to a cyberattack and said the company had taken action which contained the attack, adding that “no further issues have been detected”.

Oxford Health FT told staff it has had to declare a critical incident and put emergency planning measures in place with “daily calls” with leaders accross the region.

One doctor in London said they had been told the outage could even last for “months” and that currently clinicans are unable to access or update their patients’ notes.

According to reports in Pulse magazine last week GPs in London were warned they may see a rush of patients sent by NHS 111 due to a “significant technical issue” and “system outage”.

The news follows a major IT crash at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital Foundation Trust in London that left clinicians without access to patients’ records and forced the trust to cancel patients’ appointments for days.

NHS England has been approached for comment.

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