Members of the public have been urged not to attend previously scheduled outpatient appointments at the country’s children’s hospitals unless they have been directly contacted to confirm.
“The hospital will contact you, if it is deemed that you should attend,” the chief executive of Children’s Health Ireland, Eilish Hardiman told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.
Ms Hardiman outlined the difficulties that the country’s children’s hospitals continue to face 20 days after the cyberattack on the HSE’s IT system. There were 250 IT systems involved, at least 80 per cent of which were infected.
Old IT systems in some hospitals, such as Crumlin and Temple Street, are making the assessment process slow and laborious, she said.
The IT teams are small and had been working “non-stop” for the past 20 days with assistance from HSE tech staff and members of the Defence Forces.
Emergency departments remained open for emergencies, she said, but if possible people should use their GP or pharmacy or health centre.
The hospitals all remained very busy, added Ms Hardiman. For the past 20 days they had been keeping patient records on paper and all that data now had to be inputted which was going to take a few weeks.
In the meantime, she encouraged the public to look up the Children’s Health Ireland website and to follow the social media accounts for updates.
Meanwhile, cancer services have suffered “hammer blow after hammer blow” amid the pandemic and the cyberattack on the HSE, TDs and Senators will be told later today.
The stark impact on cancer diagnoses, treatment and waiting lists will be outlined at the Oireachtas Committee on Health on Wednesday.
Irish Cancer Society (ICS) chief executive Averil Power will say that cancer is a “disease where time matters” but the hammer blows over the last 15 months “mean that patients are not guaranteed to get the care they need, when they need it.”
“The devastating cyberattack on the HSE is crippling a system that was already on its knees.”
She says: “Some rapid access clinics that we have spoken to report that the cyberattack has had a much worse impact than Covid.”