Procedures reportedly cancelled after cyber attack hits South London hospitals

Major South London hospitals have declared a critical incident after a cyber attack has led to a number of procedures and operations being cancelled with emergency patients being diverted elsewhere.

Services at  King’s College Hospital, Guys’ and St Thomas’ – including Evelina London’s Children’s Hospital – as well as Gracefield Gardens, and the Tessa Jowell Health Centre, are among those affected.

The major incident applies to hospitals partnered with Synnovis – a provider of pathology services – which was the victim of a ransomeware attack on Monday, a spokeswoman from NHS England has confirmed.

Letters sent to NHS staff said the “critical incident” has had a “major impact” on the delivery of services, with blood transfusions particularly affected, according to Sky News.

Some procedures and operations have been cancelled or have been redirected to other NHS providers as hospital bosses continue to establish what work can be carried out safely.

According to the Health Service Journal (HSJ), the system has been the victim of a ransomware attack. In a post on X, HSJ editor Alistair McLellan said that “thousands” of Pathology results were being “held for ransom”.

Synnovis is a partnership between SYNLAB UK & Ireland, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, providing services to the NHS as well as clinical users and other service users.

A spokesperson for NHS England London region said: “On Monday, Synnovis was the victim of a ransomware cyber attack.

“This is having a significant impact on the delivery of services at Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trusts and primary care services in south east London and we apologise for the inconvenience this is causing to patients and their families.

“Emergency care continues to be available, so patients should access services in the normal way by dialling 999 in an emergency and otherwise using 111, and patients should continue to attend appointments unless they are told otherwise. We will continue to provide updates for local patients and the public about the impact on services and how they can continue to get the care they need.

“We are working urgently to fully understand the impact of the incident with the support of the government’s National Cyber Security Centre and our Cyber Operations team.”

Pictured top: King’s College Hospital (Picture: Google Street View)

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