St Albans, Watford and Hemel Hempstead Hospitals not affected in cyberware attack


The NHS - Credit: Archant

Hospitals in and around St Albans were not affected by a countrywide cyberware attack, it has just been confirmed.

Despite being contacted by the Herts Advertiser when the news made headlines on Friday, West Herts Hospital NHS Trust has only just confirmed that local hospitals - including St Albans City, Hemel Hempstead and Watford General - were not hit.

Other hospitals in Hertfordshire, for example Lister Hospital in Stevenage, had been forced to close.

Thousands of computers across 150 countries were victims of the ransomware, believed to be a malware called Wanna Decryptor, which locked files and demanded money to re-access them.

West Herts Trust has now said that although there have been problems with IT systems over the weekend, this has nothing to do with the digital hack.

A statement has been issued: “Last week’s international cyber attack has had a serious impact on the NHS across the country. Despite these difficulties the NHS has stood up well to the problems posed by the attack.

“Locally, West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust (the organisation that delivers hospital services at Watford General, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans City Hospitals) has experienced significant IT issues since last Friday although these are unrelated to the cyber attack.”

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It noted that there have also been problems with some West Herts GP surgeries.

Adding: “So NHS Herts Valleys CCG is advising people to continue to use NHS services as normal – including attending pre-booked appointments at hospitals and local GP surgeries although there may be some delays.

“If your appointment has been affected then you will be contacted.”

Commenting on the national situation, NHS incident director, Dr Anne Rainsberry, said: “The NHS has continued to treat patients throughout the weekend. We have been working with 47 organisations providing urgent and emergency care who have been infected to varying degrees. Most have found ways of working around this but seven, including St Barts in London, have asked for extra support.

“If you have a hospital appointment you should still attend unless you are contacted and told not to.

“We have also been offering advice and assistance to GP surgeries, who will open as usual tomorrow. Again, if you have an appointment you should still attend unless contacted and told not to.

“People should continue to use the NHS wisely and remember that they can seek help and advice from a range of other sources, such as pharmacies and NHS 111.

“Bearing in mind the impact of the global cyber attack I would urge people to be patient with staff.”

Police are also investigating the attack and Herts Police has reminded the public and business community of the importance of operating safely online.

The following advice has been released:

• Please ensure that anti-virus software is installed on your computer, that it is running and is up to date.

• Avoid opening unsolicited emails from people or organisations you do not know/trust.

• Avoid visiting websites that your anti-virus software warns you about.

• Do not use file sharing sites or pirated software as these are rife with malware.

Further general advice regarding cyber crime can be found on the Herts Police website.

For more information about ‘Ransomware’ specifically and cyber security visit the National Cyber Security Centre.