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Major cyber hack on NHS 111 has patients struggling to get urgent appointments and staff using ‘pen and paper’

THE security services are investigating a cyberattack that has ‘crippled’ NHS 111.

There are fears that a hostile foreign power may have targeted the system, making it difficult for patients to get urgent appointments and ambulances.

NHS staff have warned patients to expect delays in services due to the cyber attack

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NHS staff have warned patients to expect delays in services due to the cyber attackPhoto credit: Getty

Staff have been reduced to the use of pen and paper, and patients have been told to expect delays in services such as dispatching ambulances, booking urgent after-hours appointments and fulfilling emergency prescriptions.

The company behind the system, Advanced, confirmed that a number of their systems had crashed as a result of a cyber attack.

An NHS spokesman said patients are still encouraged to call 111 so they can reach staff.

GPS has been instructed to “manage calls where possible” and not direct patients to the service, but there’s no ETA as to when the issue will be resolved.

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The National Cyber ​​Security Center said it is working with Advanced to investigate the cause of the outage.

It comes after the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, made up of the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US, warned of the risk of state-sponsored cyber attacks coordinated from Moscow targeting critical organizations including the NHS, nuclear power plants and parts of the community service.

There is said to have been intelligence information suggesting that hackers within the Russian government were attempting to engage in “malicious cyber activities” in response to the “unprecedented economic sanctions” imposed on Moscow over the Ukraine war.

All NHS trusts were warned in March to strengthen their cybersecurity systems and ensure they have backups.

Simon Short, Chief Operating Officer of Advanced, said: “A security issue was identified yesterday that was causing an outage of service to infrastructure hosting products used by our healthcare customers.

“We can confirm that the incident is related to a cyber attack and we have immediately isolated all our health and care environments as a precaution.

“This happened around 7am on August 4, 2022. We can also confirm that this action contained the attack and no other issues were identified.”

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An NHS spokesman said: “NHS 111 services are still available for sick patients but if it is an emergency please call 999 as always.

“There is minimal disruption at this time and the NHS will continue to monitor the situation as they work with Advanced to fix their software system as soon as possible – there are tried and tested contingency plans for local areas using this service.”

The NHS 111 service was'crippled' in the attack, which is being investigated by the National Cyber​​Security Center (file photo).

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The NHS 111 service was ‘crippled’ in the attack, which is being investigated by the National Cyber​​Security Center (file photo)Credit: Alamy

https://www.the-sun.com/news/5941303/nhs-111-cyber-attack-patients-appointments-staff-pen-paper/ Major cyber hack on NHS 111 has patients struggling to get urgent appointments and staff using ‘pen and paper’

DevanCole

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