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Cyber attack: NHS staff unable to access patient notes for three weeks

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A cyber attack that has caused a major outage of NHS IT systems is expected to last for more than three weeks, leaving doctors unable to see patients’ notes, The Independent has learned.

Mental health trusts across the country will be left unable to access patient notes for weeks, and possibly months.

Oxford Health Foundation Trust has declared a critical incident over the outage, which is believed to affect dozens of trusts, and has told staff it is putting emergency plans in place.

One NHS trust chief said the situation could possibly last for “months” with several mental health trusts, and there was concern among leaders that the problem is not being prioritised.

In an email to staff, Oxford Health Foundation Trust chief executive Nick Broughton, said: “The cyber attack targeted systems used to refer patients for care, including ambulances being dispatched, out-of-hours appointment bookings, triage, out-of-hours care, emergency prescriptions and safety alerts. It also targeted the finance system used by the Trust."

The NHS director said: “The whole thing is down. It’s really alarming…we’re carrying a lot of risk as a result of it because you can’t get records and details of assessments, prescribing, key observations, medical mental health act observations. You can’t see any of it…Staff are going to have to write everything down and input it later.”

They added: “There is increased risk to patients. We’re finding hard to discharge people, for example to housing providers, because we can’t access records.”

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Source: The Independent, 11 August 2022

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