- Patients warned of further disruption and cancellations as group of large providers grapple with cyber attack fallout
- Jeremy Hunt says it is “encouraging” that there had not yet been a “second spike” of attacks
- Government’s COBRA committee meeting on Monday evening to discuss further action
Several major NHS acute hospitals have been forced into a fresh wave of cancellations of operations, appointments and other services as the health service grappled with the continued fallout of Friday’s cyber attack.
GP, primary care and community and mental health services also faced significant disruption on Monday following the attack, with system leaders struggling to quantify the extent of the damage.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt told the BBC it was “encouraging” that there had not yet been a “second spike” of attacks which had been feared – although the National Crime Agency cautioned the threat was not yet over.
NHS England announced at 5pm on Monday that two hospitals, The Lister Hospital run by East and North Hertfordshire Trust and Broomfield Hospital, run by Mid Essex Hospital Services Trust were still diverting ambulances.
The national commissioner said: ”A divert remains in place for trauma, stroke and urgent heart attack treatment, where diagnostic services are required [for The Lister]…[Broomfield] trauma patients are being diverted to Southend University Hospital.”
HSJ has established that many of 48 trusts NHS England identified as being impacted by the attack over the weekend were managing to continue carrying out elective work, although many were using paper notes as IT systems remained down.
However several trusts continued to have a greater struggle: HSJ has identified a number of trusts, including Northumbria Healthcare and Colchester Hospital University foundation trusts and Barts Health, United Lincolnshire Hospitals, and Southport and Ormskirk Hospital trusts, which have cancelled a significant number of operations for Monday and Tuesday.
Trusts still cancelling operations
- Barts Health: warned patients “service disruption and cancellations will continue for at least the next couple of days” because it needed to “reduce the volume of planned services”. All its A&E departments were open and ambulances were no longer being diverted.
- Northumbria Healthcare, which has 11 hospitals, said all its IT systems were still down on Monday afternoon, cutting access to scans, test results and resulting in several elective cancellations, and it expected the impact to be on-going this week. All planned CT and MRI scans on Monday were postponed. Most elective surgery and outpatients appointment went ahead on Monday but six operations were cancelled, HSJ was told.
- Southport and Ormskirk Hospital cancelled all non-urgent operations and appointments for Tuesday as the impact of the cyber-attacks drags into a fourth day.
- United Lincolnshire Hospitals cancelled “all routine activity” over the weekend and today. This includes all diagnostic tests, breast screening and “routine operations”.
- Colchester Hospital University cancelled 25 operations on Monday. It’s A&E was however open and not diverting ambulances.
The list of struggling trusts includes two of the seven trusts, Barts and Colchester, which HSJ revealed on Sunday were receiving extra support from NHS Digital’s CareCERT team.
Other trusts in the group of seven, East and North Herts Trust, James Paget University Hospital and Mid Essex Trust were all still reporting disruption on Monday, such as cancellation of blood tests. The trusts were not however publicly announcing pre-emptive cancellations of operations and appointments – although they were not ruling it out.
Another trust on the list of seven, North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust said on Monday afternoon: “Services have been running as normal, including outpatient appointments and elective surgery with only a small number of exceptions.
“Non-clinically urgent MRI and CT scans have been postponed to allow the service to focus on emergency cases. Only a small number of trust computers now remain switched off as a precautionary measure.”
The final of the seven trusts, Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust said X-ray facilities at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital were reduced “while the machines are being repaired”. The walk-in x-ray service at Basingstoke will be closed on Monday 15 May.
NHS England national incident director Anne Rainsberry said: “There are encouraging signs that the situation is improving, with fewer hospitals having to divert patients from their A&E units.
“The message to patients is clear: the NHS is open for business. Staff are working hard to ensure that the small number of organisations still affected return to normal shortly.
“If people have hospital or GP appointments they should attend unless told otherwise. The latest information can be found on the NHS Choices website.”
- Acute care
- BARTS HEALTH TRUST
- COLCHESTER HOSPITAL UNIVERSITY NHS FOUNDATION TRUST
- EAST AND NORTH HERTFORDSHIRE NHS TRUST
- Information management/IT
- JAMES PAGET UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS NHS FT
- Jeremy Hunt
- MID ESSEX HOSPITAL SERVICES NHS TRUST
- NHS England (Commissioning Board)
- NORTHUMBRIA HEALTHCARE NHS FOUNDATION TRUST
- Patient safety
- SOUTHPORT AND ORMSKIRK HOSPITAL NHS TRUST
- STPs NHS England
- UNITED LINCOLNSHIRE HOSPITALS NHS TRUST