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Cyber attack triggers 111 ‘total system outage’

Many NHS 111 services are without a crucial IT system for several days, after a cyber attack on a software supplier.

Providers had to move to pen-and-paper yesterday, and have been unable to access patient records.

Adastra – which is used by 85% of NHS 111 providers  – went offline at 7am on Thursday. It was still affected as of Sunday, and staff were told it may not be online for several days.

Advanced, which supplies Adastra, confirmed on Friday evening the incident was caused by a cyberattck, but says it managed to limit the damage to a small number of its servers. It was reported on Saturday that the attack is thought to have been by a criminal group trying to extort money — so-called ransomware — rather than an attack by a group linked to a state/government.

As well as NHS 111, the system is used by some GP out-of-hours services and has also been marketed to urgent care providers. 

NHS 111 services have had to use lists of protocols when answering calls and write details down, rather than the software automatically implementing the protocols.

One briefing note from commissioners in London, seen by HSJ, described the issue as a “total system outage” for NHS 111, and said “likely delays for patients… will continue throughout the weekend and potentially over next week”.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 8 August 2022


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