Ten hours for blood results; HSE details continued impacts of cyber-attack on Cork hospital

Ten hours for blood results; HSE details continued impacts of cyber-attack on Cork hospital

he HSE’s Chief Operations Officer has laid bare some of the continued impacts of the cyber attack on Cork University Hospital, describing how paper records continue to need to be used, resulting in long delays. Pictured are (l to r) Paul Reid, CEO HSE; Anne O'Connor, COO, HSE; Dr Colm Henry, CCO, HSE; and Damien McCallion, HSE National Lead, Vaccination Programme at Dr Steevens’ Hospital for the weekly HSE operational update on the response to Covid-19. Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

The HSE’s Chief Operations Officer has laid bare some of the continued impacts of the cyber attack on Cork University Hospital, describing how paper records continue to need to be used, resulting in long delays.

Almost three weeks after the HSE was hit by the cyberattack, Anne O’Connor said that Cork University Hospital (CUH) was still feeling its impacts.

She described how on Wednesday, there were 260 attendances at the emergency department at the hospital with 92 admissions on the day.

Speaking at the HSE’s weekly briefing, she outlined how because the Patient Management System was not functioning in the south on Wednesday, paper records were generated for all 260 patients.

All of the patient's history, laboratory tests and radiology had to be manually inputted, while she said just one workstation was available in the ED for access to radiology imaging. This led to delays.

Ms O’Connor also described how while laboratories are functioning at the hospital, these remain paper-based, resulting in delays in decision-making.

“An example there is if you attended the emergency department in Cork yesterday [Wednesday] with chest pain, your initial blood sample would have taken 10 hours.This is the kind of delay that we are talking about. The normal turnaround for that is two hours so for people attending there are very significant delays."

Ms O’Connor said that the hospital is continuing with its scheduled care, which is operating at 60 to 70 per cent capacity, and some people are having to be deferred.

She said that outpatient appointments are at 90% activity while dialysis services are also operating, both with paper-based workarounds in place.

Ms O’Connor said cancer care services are operating, but are also affected.

Endoscopy services continue to operate off-line and radiotherapy treatment has resumed, but is limited.

She said that while normally, around 160 patients are treated each week with radiotherapy, that currently, capability does not allow for this and around 90 patients are being treated this week.

Ms O’Connor said maternity services had only read-only access to their system on Thursday morning.

The HSE’s Chief Operations Officer said that community services in CHO 4, which includes Cork and Kerry, also continue to be impacted.

She said that mental health services are severely affected while disability and older persons services remain predominantly offline, with some patient management systems back online.

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