Cyber attacks affecting Southwark hospitals prompt urgent call-out for blood donors

Blood donor centres in Shepherd’s Bush, Oxford Circus and Tooting are appealing for more people to come forward after an emergency call-out sparked by a cyber attack.

NHS Trusts said a major ransomware attack on Tuesday of last week caused chaos across King’s College Hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’, including the Royal Brompton and the Evelina London Children’s Hospital, and primary care services.

It had targeted pathology partner Synnovis on Monday, and caused a number of procedures to be cancelled as well as having a “major impact” on services, particularly blood transfusions.

The IT attack left hospitals unable to match patients’ blood as quickly as they previously could.

Qilin, a Russian group of cyber criminals, is believed to have been behind the attack.

NHS Blood and Transplant is calling for O Positive and O Negative blood donors to urgently donate blood to shore up stocks of O type blood in London. Blood normally has a shelf-life of 35 days.

O negative is the type that can be given to anyone which makes it vital in emergencies or when a patient’s blood type is unknown. Just eight per cent of the population have type O Negative but it makes up for around 15 per cent of hospital orders.

O positive is the most common blood type – 35 per cent of donors have it – and can be given to anybody with any positive blood type, meaning three in every four people, or 76 per cent of the population, can benefit from an O positive donation.

An NHSBT spokesman said: “We urgently need donors to book appointments to give blood in London. We currently need to prioritise donors who know they are type O but also welcome new donors who don’t yet know their blood type.

“Please book an appointment at one of donor centres which currently have good appointment availability. There are more than 6,000 appointments available in London this week and next week. Go to to book and find out locations for donating or call 0300 123 23 23.”

Following the bank holidays and school holidays, the NHS has lower than normal stocks of type O blood. Next week is National Blood Week, during which NHSBT will be launching a big push for new donors ahead of the summer.

Blood donor centres are at St George’s Hospital, Tooting, Westfield Shopping Mall, Shepherd’s Bush and the West End Donor Centre at Oxford Circus.

Picture: NHS England

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