London hospitals cancel cancer surgeries after cyber attack | National Health Service

London hospitals had to cancel cancer operations this week due to a Russian cyberattack which continues to cause serious disruption to NHS services in the capital.

St Thomas’ and King’s College hospitals have postponed procedures their surgeons were due to perform on cancer patients since the attack began last Monday, The Guardian can reveal.

They were forced to take the step because the hack meant they would not have been able to provide a blood transfusion to any patient who needed it.

Russian hackers, believed to be the Qilin group, launched a ransomware attack against Synnovis, which supplies blood tests to St Thomas’, King’s and other hospitals in south-east London.

A senior NHS manager told the Health Service Journal (HSJ) that the attack, one of the largest to hit the service, was “everyone’s worst nightmare”.

NHS England has released few details about the impact of the cyberattack, even though it continues to cause significant disruption for six NHS trusts and dozens of GP surgeries in south-east London which together provide care to around 2 millions of people.

He declined on Friday to say how many operations, including cancer surgeries and transplants, had been postponed this week as a result of the attack. Officials maintained they did not have figures on the number of operations affected, even though administrators at the hospitals involved had to explain to patients why their procedures were delayed.

In a statement on Thursday, NHS England said only that “some non-urgent operations and procedures, including transplants,” were being postponed.

Dr Chris Streather, medical director for NHS England’s London region, said in the statement: “We are sorry to all those who have been affected and staff will work hard to rearrange appointments and treatments as quickly as possible.” .

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The same statement revealed for the first time that no fewer than six NHS trusts – four more than NHS England initially reported – had been affected. They include the South London and Maudsley and Oxleas mental health trusts, the Lewisham and Greenwich acute trust and the Bromley community services trust, as well as the very large acute trusts run by King’s and St Thomas’.

The lack of transparency is causing unrest among staff affected by the cyberattack, which the HSJ says will likely continue to cause problems for “weeks, not days.”

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