NHS Cyber Attack Impacts More Hospitals Across the UK

Written by Mitchell Langley

June 12, 2024

NHS Cyber Attack Impacts More Hospitals Across the UK

The NHS Cyber Attack Has Affected Yet Another London Hospital in Portsmouth. Russian Hackers from Qilin Ransomware Group Behind Attack on NHS Pathology Services

A major ransomware cyber attack launched by Russian cybercriminals has wreaked havoc across the NHS, impacting hospitals in both London and other parts of the UK. The attack targeted Synnovis, a pathology services provider used by several NHS hospitals and trusts.

Synnovis is a partnership between private firm Synlab and three major London hospitals – Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and the Evelina London Children’s Hospital. It provides pathology testing for GP practices in six London boroughs.

The NHS Cyber attack has caused significant disruption at Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital, as well as affecting services at the Royal Brompton, Evelina Children’s Hospital, and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. Over 3,000 non-surgical appointments have been cancelled. At least one organ transplant surgery was also cancelled due to the issue.

Portsmouth Hospitals University Also Feels the Heat

Outside of London, Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust which sends some tests to Synnovis, has also faced minor impacts though the effects are less severe than London hospitals. “Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust runs a small number of tests through Synnovis and will be looking at alternative providers for any services impacted. However, it is understood the impact on these services is likely to be minimal”, a trust spokesperson said.

As per Rebecca Thomas, health correspondent at The Independent, the ransomware attack has limited the ability of London hospitals to cross-check patients’ blood types, resulting in over 200 emergency operations being cancelled including many that should be performed within 24 hours. This has raised concerns over blood supply, with NHS England’s medical director Professor Stephen Powis urging people with O negative and O positive blood types to donate.

Russian Ransomware Group Qilin Behind the NHS Cyberattack

The attack is believed to have been carried out by the Russian cybercriminal group Qilin. While Synnovis has received a ransom note from the attackers, it remains unclear if any patient data was extracted. Experts say the impact on NHS services could last for months as pathology testing is a crucial backbone service supporting both emergency and routine clinical care.

This massive NHS cyber attack shows how vulnerable critical healthcare infrastructure has become to digital threats, with Russian state-backed hackers appearing to be behind yet another disruptive incident. With patient care and lives at stake, it is imperative that cybersecurity precautions are bolstered across the NHS to prevent such attacks in future.

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