Cyber-attack latest: HSE looks to voluntary hospitals in Cork as it tries to mitigate impacts of attack

Cyber-attack latest: HSE looks to voluntary hospitals in Cork as it tries to mitigate impacts of attack

The HSE is looking to mitigate the impacts of the cyber-attack and say they see an opportunity in bringing the 19 voluntary hospitals with “standalone systems”  on board. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The HSE is working to mitigate some of the impacts of the cyber-attack, which hit systems on Friday, and says it is looking at bringing some of the voluntary hospitals that have standalone systems, but who need HSE connectivity, on board.

Paul Reid, CEO of the HSE described the impact of the cyber-attack on patients as “extremely serious for us” and said that risk is increasing every day.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Mr Reid said that the HSE had set out three priorities to mitigate the impacts.

He said that the HSE sees an opportunity to bring on around 19 voluntary hospitals that would have standalone systems, but who would need some of the HSE connectivity. 

This includes the Mercy University Hospital and South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital in Cork as well as some of the bigger Dublin hospitals. 

"The bigger hospitals, we see an opportunity to bring on sooner," he said. 

He said work took place over the weekend on this and toolkits have been deployed to "try to get those up first."

Mr Reid said that in parallel they are working to get diagnostics systems up and are also trying to get basic connectivity up and running.

The HSE Chief said alternative measures are being put in place to provide urgent care.

“Where those systems are down there are certain care services, so for example, cancer, urgent radiology, that we’re putting alternative processes for, there’s some support through the private hospitals,” Mr Reid said.

It comes as hospitals in Cork say services continue to be impacted by the cyber-attack last week.

Cork University Hospital 

CUH said that the challenging situation is ongoing. 
CUH said that the challenging situation is ongoing. 

Cork University Hospital said that the ongoing cyber-attack on the HSE’s IT system has resulted in “considerable delays” at its emergency department and on the hospital's ability to deliver normal outpatient services.

“This challenging situation is ongoing,” it said.

Patients with an OPD appointment, chemotherapy appointment, or surgery appointment, are being advised to come to the hospital today unless they are contacted to cancel. 

Patients with X-ray appointments should not attend unless contacted. 

There will be no radiotherapy treatment in CUH today or tomorrow. 

An information line for patients attending the radiotherapy services in CUH has been set up and can be contacted on:

021- 4234774, 021-4234775, 021-4234776 or 021-4234777

Labs are also severely affected and only emergency bloods will be processed.

Cork University Maternity Hospital 

At Cork University Maternity Hospital, gynaecology clinics have been cancelled today and tomorrow.

Patients are reminded that access to the normal IT systems is limited, therefore CUMH may not have access to the full suite of records.

The following appointments are going ahead: inductions of labour, C-sections, gynaecology elective operations, antenatal, physio and neonatology outpatient appointments. 

Patients are advised to expect delays today and tomorrow.

Mercy University Hospital 

Patients at the Mercy University Hospital are being advised to attend for appointments today unless contacted to cancel, if they have any of the following appointments: outpatient department, chemotherapy, surgery and endoscopy.

X-ray appointments are cancelled unless patients have been contacted to attend. Only emergency bloods will be processed.

All patients with a scheduled appointment from Tuesday to Friday are being asked to make contact with the hospital.

Patients with appointments for this week should contact the hospital on the following dedicated phone numbers.

  • Outpatient department - Central Appointment 021- 4935657 
  • Inpatient/Day cases - 021-4935225 / 021-4935308 
  • Radiology Department - 021 4935275 / 021-4935277 

 The following services are now cancelled for the remainder of this week:

  • x-ray appointments – unless you have been contacted to attend 
  • processing of GP bloods – only emergency bloods will be processed

South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital 

Patients at the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital are advised that all x-ray appointments for today are canceled. Picture Dan Linehan.
Patients at the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital are advised that all x-ray appointments for today are canceled. Picture Dan Linehan.

Patients at the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital are advised that all x-ray appointments for today and tomorrow are cancelled.

For other services, patients are advised to attend the hospital for appointments as planned.

The hospital will provide a daily update with regard to access to services.

Patients with queries can contact the hospital's helpline on 

  • X-ray 021-4926112
  • General-021 4926174/021 4926202

Mallow University Hospital 

Mallow Hospital is operating as normal.

Bantry General Hospital 

The HSE said the ongoing cyber-attack has resulted in considerable delays at Bantry General Hospital and on the hospital's ability to deliver normal outpatient services.

As a result, Bantry General Hospital has opened a patient helpline to assist with any service queries which members of the public may have in relation to outpatient appointments during this coming week.

Patients with queries should contact 086 7871766.

The helpline will operate from 9.00am to 6.00pm daily.

Radiation therapy 

The HSE says the cyber attack has had a significant and ongoing impact on HSE Radiotherapy Centres nationally which has necessitated the temporary closure of radiation machines and ceasing radiation treatment across its five centres including at CUH.

It says a plan has been initiated to treat all urgent radiation patients in the private sector which commenced on Friday and is continuing.

“Patients will be contacted directly by our staff about their appointments,” it said.

A spokesperson for Cork University Hospital confirmed that the Bon Secours Hospital has assisted Cork University Hospital with the treatment of some urgent patients requiring radiotherapy treatment over the past few days.

Community health services 

Most community health services such as disability, mental health, primary care and older people’s services are operating as normal.

Covid-19 vaccination appointments 

Covid-19 vaccination appointments are going ahead as normal.

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