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Practices and hospitals crippled by cyberattack holding files to ransom


By Carolyn Wickware
12 May 2017

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Hospitals and GP practices across England have been affected by what appears to be a major cyber attack on the NHS computer system.

Some practices have had to shut down, while hospital staff found themselves unable to work as a result of the attack.

Dr George Farrelly, a GP in East London, said his practice did not have access to patient records and could not prescribe medicines.

Hospitals and GP practices across England have been affected by what appears to be a major cyber attack on the NHS computer system.

Some practices have had to shut down, while hospital staff found themselves unable to work as a result of the attack.

Dr George Farrelly, a GP in East London, said his practice did not have access to patient records and could not prescribe medicines.

Dr Farrelly, who works at the Tredegar practice in Tower Hamlets, said his practice had ‘heard something might happen’ earlier in the day so had printed the appointment list.

He said: ‘I am going to see my patients but of course we cannot access any records and can’t prescribe.’

Meanwhile Dr Neil Paul, a GP in Cheshire, has said the attackers are requesting $300 worth of Bitcoin, the online currency, to decrypt files.

He told our sister publication Pulse that in his area around 'half' of practices were affected by the attack, including some cases of 'whole practices' being forced to shut down.

NHS Liverpool CCG warned patients to only contact their GP practice in an emergency.

NHS Digital said in a statement: '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.'

They added: '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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