Thousands of London NHS hospital appointments and procedures postponed after cyber attack

St Thomas' Hospital in London
-Credit: (Image: PA Wire/PA Images)

More than 6,000 appointments and procedures have been postponed at major London hospitals because of a cyber attack last month, officials have said.

Since the attack on June 3, some 4,913 outpatient appointments and 1,391 pre-planned procedures have been postponed at King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, NHS England said.

From June 24 to June 30, some 1,517 acute outpatient appointments and 136 elective procedures had to be postponed because of the attack at the two most affected hospital trusts, NHS leaders said.

Officials said that most services were at "near normal" levels and they hoped to be "fully operational as quickly as possible".

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But pathology services were operating at 54 per cent of the capacity they had prior to the cyber attack. Urgent and emergency services had remained available as usual.

On June 3, cyber criminals targeted pathology services provider Synnovis with a ransomware attack. Last week, NHS England confirmed data stolen in the attack had been published online.

According to the BBC, Russian cyber gang Qilin shared almost 400GB of data, including patient names, dates of birth, NHS numbers and descriptions of blood tests, on their darknet site and Telegram channel.

Officials said that most services were at "near normal" levels -Credit:Getty
Officials said that most services were at "near normal" levels -Credit:Getty

But NHS England said there was "no evidence" the cyber criminals had published an entire database, but that it could take "some weeks" to learn which people were affected by the attack. A helpline has been set up to support people impacted.

Dr Chris Streather, medical director for NHS London, said: "I'm incredibly proud of how the NHS in London continues to work to minimise the impact on patients, with staff working hard to maintain patient safety and provide the high-quality care that we strive for across the capital.

"Although we are seeing significant progress, with most services operating near to normal, we continue to work tirelessly in partnership with our colleagues across London to ensure all services are back to being fully operational as quickly as possible.

"Last week, King's College Hospital and Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trusts had to deal with the added pressure of industrial action which put further demands on staff, so I would like to recognise the hard work of all their staff who put robust plans in place to maintain patient safety.

"The mutual aid agreements that have been put in place in primary care continue to show progress to meet urgent demand, with pathology services now operating at 54 per cent of the capacity they had prior to the cyber attack helping to increase the number of blood tests available in the most critical and urgent cases."

NHS officials have urged people with type O blood to come forward and donate if possible to help affected hospitals. They are being urged to visit or call 0300 123 23 23 to book an appointment.