‘Major’ cyber attack could mean NHS 111 calls take longer to be answered this weekend | UK News

Written by Javed Iqbal

People seeking medical help via the NHS 111 service are being warned there could be delays after a cyber attack led to a “major” computer system outage.

The security issue was identified at 07:00 on Thursday morning and it has affected the system used to dispatch ambulances, book out-of-hours appointments and issue emergency prescriptions.

There are fears that these technical issues may not be fully resolved until next week.

The Welsh Ambulance Service says the fallout is significant and far-reaching – affecting all four nations of the UK.

Although it has “developed and implemented plans so that services can continue to operate”, this weekend is set to be busier than usual for 111 in Wales – and calls may take longer to be answered.

NHS England says 111 services are still available and there is “currently minimal disruption”, with “proven emergency plans in place”.

A Scottish Government spokesman said it is aware of the reported outage of a system used by one of NHS Scotland’s suppliers – adding that it is working with other health boards and the National Cyber ​​Security Center “to fully to understand the potential impact”.

Northern Ireland’s Department of Health is also working to keep disruption to a minimum and steps have been taken to avoid the risk of other critical systems and services being affected.

Advanced, the software and services provider affected by the cyber attack, said the problem was contained to “a small number of servers” representing 2% of its health and care infrastructure.

Chief operations officer Simon Short added: “We are continuing to work with the NHS and health and care bodies, as well as our technology and security partners, focused on restoring all systems over the weekend and into the early part of next week.”

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