- A number of NHS organisations , including hospitals and GP practices, have been affected by a ransomware attack.
- This has impacted organisations in different ways. In some cases computers have been infected with the ransomware virus; in other cases, computers/servers/internet connections have been shut down as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the virus.
- This attack was not specifically targeted at the NHS and is affecting organisations from across a range of sectors.
- NHS IT staff are being supported by cyber security experts as they work around the clock to fix the problem and bring impacted systems back online.
- There is no evidence that patient data has been accessed or that patient records have been affected.
- Clinical systems are unaffected and GPs can continue to access information, including electronic patient records as normal. However, connections between different NHS organisations have been affected and this means it may not be possible for information to be shared electronically between the practice and other organisations, for example electronic prescriptions and test results, on Monday. IT are working to resolve this as quickly as possible.
Frequently asked questions
[Please amend according to your local circumstances}
How has my practice been affected?
The practice remains open and is working effectively to well-tested business continuity plans. [Clinical computer systems have not been affected]. However non-clinical computers, including those that operate telephone systems (where applicable), may have been affected and computers and internet connections have been shut down as a precaution while investigations continue. This may cause some disruption, including difficulty reaching the practice by telephone. In addition, while some of our systems are down, it may take longer to see patients and arrange prescriptions so please bear with us if things are running more slowly than normal.
I already have a GP appointment booked. Will this still go ahead?
Yes, the practice is open and you can attend your appointment as normal.
Can I book an urgent or routine GP appointment?
Yes practice is open and continuing to take bookings as normal/ the practice is open but can only make urgent appointments. [delete as applicable] We are using a paper-based system to make appointments. This may cause things to run more slowly than usual and ask for your patience and understanding while we try to bring our systems back online.
How have the phone systems been affected?
All phone lines for GP practices are working normally/ Our electronic call queuing systems has been affected. Our normal phone lines still work and you can call us on the usual number, but instead of the call queuing system you may hear an engaged tone and may experience some delays in getting through. If this happens, please keep trying to get through. Thank you for your patience and understanding while we work to resolve the problem. [delete as applicable]
Has my patient information been affected?
There is absolutely no evidence that patient data has been accessed or compromised.
How does this affect prescriptions and repeat prescriptions?
Electronic prescriptions are not currently in use as it is not possible for information to be shared between the GP practice and other organisations currently. This means that GPs will issue paper prescriptions and if you normally collect a repeat prescription from your pharmacy, you will need to collect a paper prescription from the practice and take it to your pharmacy instead.
Have any patient records been lost?
There have been no reports of any patient records being affected. Patient records created before the cyber attack remain in place and any paper records that have been created since the incident started on Friday, May 12, will be transferred to electronic records as quickly as possible.
What will happen to my patient records if I received hospital treatment over the weekend?
Paper records will have been made at the hospital and these will be transferred to your electronic patient records held by your GP as quickly as possible. In the meantime, hospitals will be able to fax paper records to your GP if they need to access information about your treatment.
What will happen to my test results?
There may be a delay in receiving test results as a result of computer systems being down. If you are waiting for routine results we would ask you to wait an additional couple of days before calling to ask for them. However, if you are waiting for urgent test results, your GP will be able to contact the hospital by phone to receive them and the practice will contact you with this information.
When will everything be back up and running normally?
Many NHS services have already returned to normal and NHS IT experts are continuing to work round the clock to bring impacted systems back online as quickly as possible.