Cyber attack latest: Cork hospitals continuing to feel impacts

Cyber attack latest: Cork hospitals continuing to feel impacts

HSE Chief Operations Officer, Anne O’Connor said that while there is still a health system, they are facing significant challenges.

Hospitals and community health services in Cork are continuing to feel the impacts of the cyber-attack on the HSE, with the HSE’s Chief Operations Officer warning that as day does on, there is a “very significant impact” on services.

Earlier today, the head of the HSE Paul Reid said that the impact of the cyber attack on the organisation last week has been “catastrophic” and said he believed that the attack was a “stomach-churning criminal act”.

HSE Chief Operations Officer, Anne O’Connor said that while there is still a health system, they are facing significant challenges.

She said that staff were working in a very high-risk environment by virtue of not having the IT supports they normally use.

The Operations Chief said that the attack has meant that “things are much slower” with delays in almost all procedures, while there are cancellations in many areas including radiology.

Ms O’Connor said that while outpatients on any given day has nearly 14,000 appointments, that is down by 70 to 80 per cent while elective inpatient care is down by about 50 per cent. 

Day cases are down 60 per cent.

“Every day that this goes on, it’s a very significant impact,'' she said.

Impact on Cork hospitals 

There is also a “major disruption” to radiotherapy services and Ms O’Connor said they are working to bring back the service in Cork.

The Bon Secours Hospital has assisted Cork University Hospital (CUH) with the treatment of some urgent patients requiring radiotherapy treatment over the past few days, a CUH spokesperson confirmed.

The hospital is also experiencing delays accessing GP referrals for cancer services.

Patients due to attend outpatient or surgery appointments at Cork University Hospital are asked to come to the hospital unless they are told their appointment is cancelled.

People with an x-ray appointment are asked to not attend unless contacted.

All gynaecology appointments at Cork University Maternity Hospital are cancelled.

The emergency department is open, but patients are advised delays are likely.

The Mercy University Hospital has cancelled all x-ray appointments and processing of bloods for next week.

Anyone with an appointment between May 21 and 28 is asked to contact the hospital with the phone number on their notification letter.

Alternatively, people can contact the following numbers between 10 am and 4 pm each day:

  • Outpatients: 021 4935657
  • Inpatient/Daycases: 021 4935225/ 4935308 
  • Radiology: 021 4935275/4935277

The South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital has cancelled all x-ray appointments for tomorrow.

For all other services, patients are asked to attend the hospital for their appointment as planned.

The Injury Unit and Medical Assessment Unit is open at Bantry General Hospital, but people are asked to call 027 53427 before attending.

Patients with questions about appointments at Bantry General Hospital this week can call 086 7871766. The helpline is open from 9am to 6pm daily.

All outpatient radiology appointments (x-Ray, CT and ultrasound) at Mallow General Hospital have been cancelled, but all other services are operating as normal, including the Injury Unit and Medical Assessment Unit.

Community impacts 

Ms O’Connor said the impacts were also starting to become more apparent in community services with many audiology clinics cancelled.

Community health services such as disability, mental health, primary care and older people’s services in Cork are operating as normal.

People with an appointment for orthodontic services are asked to phone in advance to confirm their appointment.

Vaccinations and Covid-19 testing are continuing.

Meanwhile, amid reports that hackers have reportedly threatened to release patient data on Monday if a ransom is not paid, HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid has urged members of the public to report any suspicious activity to the gardaí.

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