NHS Ransomware Attack Leads to Cancellations of 800+ Operations

A ransomware cyber attack targeted Synnovis, a pathology laboratory that processes blood tests for several NHS organizations, primarily in southeast London.

The attack has significantly reduced the number of tests that can be processed and reported to clinical teams, causing widespread disruption.

EHA

In response, NHS England London declared a regional incident and has coordinated efforts across affected services, neighboring providers, and national partners to manage the disruption.

Measures include coordinating mutual aid to ensure patients needing time-sensitive care can receive it, working with Synnovis and trusts to increase the number of tests reported per day, and rerouting blood tests from GP surgeries.

Impact on Patients and Services

The clinical impact of the attack has been severe, with more than 800 planned operations and 700 outpatient appointments needing to be rearranged across the two most affected Trusts – King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

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Despite the best efforts of NHS staff and partners, avoiding disruption for some patients has not been possible.

Urgent and emergency services in the local area remain available as usual.

Patients are advised to access services in the usual way by dialing 999 in an emergency and using NHS 111 through the NHS App, online, or on the phone for other needs.

NHS England London will now publish unverified management information every week to provide a clearer picture of the extent of the disruption.

Ongoing Recovery Efforts

Synnovis is focused on the technical recovery of its IT system, with plans to begin restoring some functionality in the coming weeks.

Complete technical restoration will take time, and the need to re-book tests and appointments means some disruption will continue over the coming months.

Dr. Chris Streather, Medical Director for NHS London, acknowledged the significant impact of the ransomware attack and apologized to all those affected.

He emphasized that staff are working around the clock to mitigate the impact and that Synnovis is working to recover its IT system.

In the meantime, NHS Blood and Transplant has called on O-positive and O-negative blood donors to urgently book appointments to donate blood to boost stocks of O-type blood following the cyber incident.

People are urged to visit blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23 to book an appointment.

Cyber Attack Professor Ian Abbs, Chief Executive of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, and Professor Clive Kay, Chief Executive of King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, expressed their regret over the care delays and urged patients to attend their appointments as planned unless contacted otherwise.

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Divya is a Senior Journalist at Cyber Security news covering Cyber Attacks, Threats, Breaches, Vulnerabilities and other happenings in the cyber world.