NHS Lanarkshire hospitals hit by cyber attack

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NHS Lanarkshire has urged people not to attend local hospitals unless it is “essential”, as it battles a malware attack on its IT systems today.

Patients arriving at A&E who don’t need emergency treatment could face a lengthy wait or “be sent away”.

Procedures were put on hold yesterday as the health board took action to counter a cyber attack.

This morning a message on NHS Lanarkshire Facebook told staff to call a temporary number to check if they were required for shift cover over the next 72 hours.

That number is 01698 368713.

The hospitals affected include Wishaw General, Monklands and Hairmyres, and all local GP surgeries are also affected.

A spokeswoman for NHS Lanarkshire said this morning that anyone whose operation had to be postponed would be contacted directly.

She added that weekends were typically quieter, and that every effort had been made to keep disruption to a minumum.

NHS Lanarkshire hopes systems will be back to normal by tomorrow, and testing is currently ongoing to find if it will be safe to put them back online later today.

In a message to patients yesterday Dr Jane Burns, medical director for the acute division said: “I would ask that patients do not attend our hospitals unless it is essential.

“If you do turn up at A&E and do not require emergency care you may be sent away from the department or you may experience a lengthy wait.

“Emergency care will still be provided for those who do require to be seen.”

The board’s chief executive Calum Campbell said: “We have detected some incidences of malware and took immediate action to prevent this spreading while we carried out further investigations.

“We are currently 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 next update on progress is expected around 4pm today.