Frontline services impacted by cyberattack in ‘major IT incident’ affecting London hospitals

Guy’s, St Thomas’ and King’s College hospitals – which treat a cumulative 10,000 patients each day – are all understood to be affected after a reported ransomware assault on a pathology partner

Several major hospitals in London are understood to be experiencing an impact to frontline services after a ransomware attack resulting in a “major IT incident”.

Facilities run by two NHS trusts – covering the King’s College Hospital and Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals, all in central London, as well as other primary care locations around the capital – have all been affected. Between them, the impact services treat about 10,000 people every day.

According to the Health Service Journal, the incident stemmed from a ransomware attack on Synnovis – a provider of pathology services created via a joint venture between the affected trusts and diagnostics firm SYNLABS.

A now widely shared message to staff sent at 8pm last night by Guy’s and St Thomas’ chief executive Ian Abbs stated that “Synnovis experienced a major IT incident earlier today, which is ongoing and means that we are not currently connected to the Synnovis IT servers”.

“This is having a major impact on the delivery of our services, with blood transfusions being particularly affected,” he added. Some activity has already been cancelled or redirected to other providers at short notice as we prioritise the clinical work that we are able to carry out.”

Related content

Various news outlets have reported that some procedures scheduled to take place today at the affected hospitals have been cancelled, postponed or moved as a result of the incident – although the trusts themselves have thus far publicly released little to no detail of the attack or its impact.

In the missive to his workforce, the CEO went on to say that the trust has created “an incident response structure” including representation from “all clinical groups”. The structure will underpin ongoing efforts to “regularly… assess the situation and put contingency plans into place”.

He added: “While we do not yet know all the details or how long this issue will take to resolve, we will keep you updated through the usual routes, including through the clinical alert system.”

With a yearly budget of about £1.6bn and a workforce of 17,000 people, Guys’s and St Thomas’ is one of the largest NHS trusts in the country. The trust conducts an annual total of 2.6 million engagements with patients – equating to more than 7,000 for each day of the year. About 60% of these are in hospital, with another 800,000 in community settings.

The King’s College trust, meanwhile, treats about a million people each year, including patients in its tally of 900 hospital beds. It spends more than £600m annually and employs 7,000 people.

Sam Trendall

Learn More →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
Subscribe to our newsletter