London’s healthcare system faced severe disruptions as a cyber-attack targeted key hospitals, leading to the cancellation of operations and blood transfusions. Seven hospitals, including Guy’s, St Thomas’, and King’s College, declared a “critical incident” due to a ransomware attack on Synnovis, a company responsible for analyzing blood tests. The incident affected hospitals’ ability to perform elective surgeries and other critical services.

The affected hospitals, managed by the Guy’s and St Thomas’ (GSTT) and King’s College NHS trusts, also included Evelina Children’s Hospital, Royal Brompton and Harefield Specialist Heart and Lung Hospitals, and Princess Royal Hospital in Orpington, Kent. Some scheduled childbirths had to be postponed or redirected to other hospitals.

Synnovis, a partnership between the NHS trusts and private firm Synlab, experienced a ransomware attack that locked its IT systems. NHS England activated “mutual aid” procedures to ensure other hospitals in London could assist with patient care, maintaining normal emergency services and outpatient appointments.

Prof Ian Abbs, GSTT’s chief executive, informed staff of the major IT incident affecting Synnovis and its significant impact on service delivery, particularly blood transfusions. Mark Dollar, Synnovis’s CEO, stated that a taskforce of experts was working to address the issue, highlighting the indiscriminate nature of such attacks.

Despite ongoing efforts, it remains unclear how long it will take to resolve the situation. Synnovis reported the incident to the Information Commissioner’s Office and is collaborating with the National Cyber Security Centre and Cyber Operations Team.

A healthcare worker noted that while Synnovis’s labs were still operational, communication was limited to paper, causing significant delays and forcing the cancellation of non-urgent bloodwork. Direct connections to Synnovis’s servers were severed to prevent further infection spread.

This attack is part of a troubling trend for Synlab, Synnovis’s parent company. In the past year, Synlab has faced multiple ransomware attacks, including incidents in France and Italy. Healthcare services are frequent targets for ransomware due to underinvestment in IT and the high stakes of patient health, leading providers to quickly pay ransoms to restore services.

Source Article –
The Guardian – Services disrupted as London hospitals hit by cyber-attack

Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner