Disruption warning after cyber-attack

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Hexham General Hospital. Photo: K031721
Hexham General Hospital. Photo: K031721

HEALTHCARE services across Tynedale are in recovery mode following a global cyber-attack which hit computer systems across the NHS on Friday.

Officials at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Hexham General, said the 'ransomware' cyber-attack left them without access to IT facilities and patient records.

All outpatient clinics across all of the trust's sites, including Hexham, went ahead on Monday, however, patients were warned staff may not have access to any recent test results or scans.

Today, 21 planned routine operations have been postponed and these patients have been informed. Orthopaedic outpatient clinics at Hexham have also been cancelled.

"We will of course rearrange these procedures at the earliest possible opportunity and sincerely apologise for the inconvenience," said a spokeswoman.

"Our teams are continuing to work hard to bring our computer systems back online as safely and quickly as possible.

"Please continue to keep A&E and emergency 999 service free for those with serious or life threatening needs."

Patients receiving community nursing services and adult social care support across Northumberland are also being advised to expect some delays as services get back to usual following the major IT disruption.

The Rural Services Network – England's largest partnership of rural service providers – has voiced concern at the impact of cyber-attacks on doctors' surgeries that serve rural communities.

While some practices were not directly attacked, some network connections to data servers and the internet were affected.

Chief executive Graham Biggs said: "This is an extremely worrying situation for rural patients and for small rural practices which operate on a limited budget."

Read the full story in the latest edition of the Hexham Courant.

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