Cyber scare: Horncastle GP practice praises patients

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Chaotic scenes sparked by a cyber attack which affected all NHS organisations across Lincolnshire appeared to have eased during the last 24 hours.

There were reports over the weekend and on Monday, that the hospitals and GP surgeries had effectively been plunged into crisis by the ransomware cyber attack.

On Monday morning. the Lincolnshire East Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) urged people not to visit A&E unless it was a ‘life threatening emergency’ and not to attend their GP practice - again unless it was an emergency.

Instead, the CCG said that anyone who ‘felt unwell’ should contact NHS 111.

However, the position appeared to differ hugely across Lincolnshire.

Richard Boucher, practice manager of the Horncastle Medical Group, said they had opened on Friday afternoon, Monday and yesterday (Tuesday).

He added: “All the practice staff worked unbelievably hard in very testing conditions to deal with patients who attended

“The practice would like thank our patients for their support and understanding.”

Mark Bowles, who lives in Horncastle, said he was unsure what to do about his 81-year-old mother-in-law’s hospital appointment.

He told the News: “She had an appointment on Monday. It took us ages to get through.

“We were told not to travel and the appointment would be re-scheduled.

“I hope the idiots responsible for this attack know the trouble they have caused.”

The CCG stressed no patient data had been accessed.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT), which runs Boston’s Pilgrim and Lincoln County Hospitals cancelled all routine activity at its hospitals on Monday, but by yesterday (Tuesday) the situation had much-improved.

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.”

ULHT has more than 6,000 computers, all of which were supposed to have had a patch which would have defended them against the ransomeware.

Mr Brassington added: “What we don’t understand is how a number of the machines became infected.”

He said staff would be debriefed and a full review would be compiled following that.