Spilsby surgery’s plea after crippling cyber attack

Healthcare assistant Clare Russell ready to help patients in the entrance to Spilsby Surgery. ANL-170516-094658001
Healthcare assistant Clare Russell ready to help patients in the entrance to Spilsby Surgery. ANL-170516-094658001

Patients at Spilsby Surgery are being urged to keep appointments or get in touch as staff work through the fallout from a global cyber attack that crippled computer systems.

Missed appointments at the surgery in Bull Yard have been a problem for some time, according to practice manager Jason Longstaff.

A notice about the affect of the cyber attack on Spilsby Surgery was placed on the sign at the entrance to the car park. ANL-170516-094720001

A notice about the affect of the cyber attack on Spilsby Surgery was placed on the sign at the entrance to the car park. ANL-170516-094720001

But he said it is more important than ever for patients to get in touch if they can’t attend as doctors work to catch up after the surgery was forced to cancel appointments when the cyber attack first hit last Friday afternoon.

He said: “It could take us a week to catch up, so we would ask patients who do have appointments to keep them, or let us know so we can give them to someone else,”

Healthcare assistant Clare Russell said they first noticed something was wrong at about 3pm on Friday. She said: “The label trace facility to label specimens was the first thing that went down – then we got the call to switch off our computers.

“We had to cancel non-emergency appointments because we were unable to access patient appointments.”

It could take us a week to catch up, so we would ask patients who do have appointments to keep them, or let us know so we can give them to someone else

Practice manager Jason Longstaff

On Monday she and Mr Longstaff were at the entrance of the surgery to help patients who had not got the message their appointments had been cancelled.

Doctors who did see patients had to make notes on paper to be uploaded on the system later.

Systems were back online on Monday evening and it was business as usual from yesterday (Tuesday).

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT), which runs Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital, was one of those affected by the cyber attack which hit 48 health organisations across England and Scotland and was felt in more than 150 countries.

The majority of clinical systems are back up and running at Pilgrim and appointments yesterday (Tuesday) were expected to go-ahead.

Chief operating officer at ULHT Mark Brassington said the recovery system was ‘very slow’ as the computers caught up on data.

“We are asking patients to bear with us,” he added.

He said patients had been ‘extremely understanding’ during the entire incident adding: “We understand their frustration for any disruption it has caused for them.”

He said staff ‘have been absolutely fantastic’ with many offering to give up time off to take on additional shifts.

He added: “This has meant no safety issues or lives risked due to the cyber attack.”

read more:

COLUMN: Thank you for your understanding since the cyber attack