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GPs fear delayed test results amid major cyber attack on NHS pathology

GPs fear delayed test results amid major cyber attack on NHS pathology

A cyber attack impacting NHS pathology labs in London hospitals has left GPs ‘flying blind’ with delays to test results and cancelled hospital appointments. 

Synnovis, a provider of lab services for a group of London hospitals, was the ‘victim of a ransomware cyberattack’ which caused ‘interruptions’ to its pathology services, HSJ revealed yesterday

The company has confirmed that this is ‘affecting patients’ and work is still underway to understand what happened.

NHS England’s London branch said the cyber attack is having a ‘significant impact’ on services at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, as well as primary care services in south east London.

Synnovis and the NHS have convened a ‘taskforce of IT experts’ in order to fully assess the impact of this interruption to pathology services.

Test results from the affected pathology labs are not expected to be accessible for weeks, according to HSJ and Londonwide LMCs. 

Londonwide LMCs chief executive Dr Michelle Drage said: ‘This is the latest in a long line of London hospital trust IT failings that have a significant impact on patients and their GPs, further reducing patients’ access through no fault of their GP practice. 

‘Delays to test results are unsafe and leave GPs flying blind while having to manage the justifiable anxieties of thousands of patients.’

Synnovis said this incident is a ‘harsh reminder’ that a cyber attack ‘can happen to anyone’, highlighting that the company has ‘invested heavily’ in ensuring its IT is safe. 

A spokesperson said: ‘Regrettably this is affecting patients, with some activity already cancelled or redirected to other providers as urgent work is prioritised. 

‘We are incredibly sorry for the inconvenience and upset this is causing to patients, service users and anyone else affected. We are doing our best to minimise the impact and will stay in touch with local NHS services to keep people up to date with developments.’

The company also confirmed that the incident has been reported to law enforcement, and they are working with the National Cyber Security Centre.

A spokesperson for NHS England London region said: ‘Emergency care continues to be available, so patients should access services in the normal way by dialling 999 in an emergency and otherwise using 111, and patients should continue to attend appointments unless they are told otherwise. 

‘We will continue to provide updates for local patients and the public about the impact on services and how they can continue to get the care they need.’

In 2022, GPs were impacted by a cyber incident affecting NHS 111, with GPs warned they could see an influx of patients signposted from the service.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Azeem Majeed 6 June, 2024 2:39 pm

It’s good to see Pulse report the impact of this cyber attack on general practices. Most of the national media coverage has been on the impact on specialist services. But local practices (including my own) are also being effected.