Posted on January 26, 2018 at 8:44 AM
Multiple NHS Computers Shutdown Due to an IT Failure That Leaves Hospitals Frenzied
Patients were advised against going to the hospitals. The hospitals stayed open for life-threatening emergencies and serious illnesses only.
This software shutdown was filed as a major incident. NHS hospitals all across Wales and England were affected on Wednesday, January 24th. IT failures were reported as hitting two different data centers.
This caused doctors and staff at NHS unable to access any type of internet services, including patient records, email, and other basic internet services. It took a full 24 hours to solve the computer shutdowns. The person who committed the crime has yet to be found.
The two data centers that were hit by the shutdown were located in Cardiff Bay and Blaenavon.
A brief statement from the NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS) said that the situation was being dealt with swiftly and is considered a priority.
The National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), which is a branch of the British Intelligence Agency GCHQ alleviated fears by saying that they did not believe the shutdown was a result of a cyber attack.
The Wales Department of Health and Social Services echoed the NHS Wales Informatics Services by assuring the public that this was being viewed as a priority.
Powys NHS IT department released a statement saying that a multitude of nationally hosted systems across Wales had been hit. The major incident was most likely a result of national firewalls, not a hacker of a cyber-attack, and is being investigated highly. They also noted that the system that was shut down handles appointment systems, medical notes, and prescriptions.
The situation has been described by many as chaos.
Dr. Alan Woodall, chairman of GP Survival, had a few things to say about the situation. He released a statement saying that they were forced to work emergencies only, and in the middle of flu season at that. He also noted that the shutdown could get even more out of hand if it was to continue.
Among the NHS, Manchester Royal Infirmary and Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital were affected by the shutdown.
Manchester University’s NHS Foundation Trust took to Twitter to announce the situation. They quickly asked everyone to only attend A&E if it is an emergency. They then assured the public that they were working to solve the shutdown as quickly as possible.
Morlais Health also tweeted some updates on Wednesday. They confirmed that they were also affected by the shutdown. When asked if they would still be seeing patients, they confirmed as long as it was an emergency situation, although they had no access to any past medical notes, appointments, or even lists of prescriptions. They then asked that the public bear with them, that they would work to the best of their ability.
The same day as this major shutdown, NHS Digital announced its new deal with Microsoft in hopes to better support hospitals and their digital information.
A little later on the same evening, NHS Wales IT sent out a tweet confirming that both data centers were back online and working, although they made sure to announce that the situation will continue to be monitored closely.