NHS trust hit by cyber attack cancels operations and asks patients not to come to hospital ‘unless it is essential’

Scotland’s third-largest NHS trust is appealing for patients not to attend hospital unless it is “essential” amid an ongoing cyber attack.

Operations and appointments have been cancelled by NHS Lanarkshire and people are being warned they could be turned away, but a spokesperson insisted there were “no concerns around emergency treatments”.

It is the second time the trust has been affected by malware within months, having been one of the worst-affected trusts during the global WannaCry ransomware attack in May.

Officials did not confirm the type of virus affecting systems but announced IT difficulties affecting hospitals and GP practices starting on Friday afternoon.

“We have detected some incidences of malware,” chief executive Calum Campbell said.

“We took immediate action to prevent this spreading while we carried out further investigations.

“We are now putting in place a solution from our IT security provider.

“While the issue is being resolved our staff have been working hard to minimise the impact on patients and we apologise to anyone who has been affected.”

The trust is responsible for the care of more than 650,000 people living in North and South Lanarkshire in Scotland, running three general hospitals and numerous GP surgeries, dentists, pharmacists and other services.

As of Saturday morning, the trust described the entire IT system as “down” and put out an emergency phone number for staff to use over the bank holiday weekend.

Dr Jane Burns, medical director for NHS Lanarkshire’s acute division, asked patients not to attend hospitals “unless it is essential”.

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Source: The Independent