Chesterfield Royal Hospital works to reconnect computer systems after global cyber attack

Chesterfield Royal Hospital.
Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

Chesterfield Royal Hospital is working to reconnect IT systems this morning - after the NHS fell victim to an 'unprecedented' cyber attack on Friday.

The Calow hospital was not affected by the ransomware hack - which struck organisations in almost 100 countries across the world - but turned off certain IT systems as a precaution with medics using pen and paper in some cases.

Giving the latest update on the situation, a Chesterfield Royal Hospital spokesman said: "We've had calls from patients this morning asking if appointments are still going ahead today because of the world-wide cyber attack on Friday.

"Unless you've been told otherwise, you should come to hospital as planned for your surgery, outpatient or diagnostic appointment.

"However, there will be no diabetic eye screening service operating today - as the system remains offline. These patients will be given alternative dates.

"We've run services as usual throughout the weekend thanks to excellent continuity plans and great teamwork.

"Staff worked hard to put other systems in place - including ED, pharmacy, theatres and sterile services. And our team in imaging had extra staff to help cope - including consultants who weren't on call coming in to do shifts.

"Thanks to all of them, everyone pulling together and our IT team supporting, we've still been able to to provide safe care this weekend.

"This morning we're slowly bringing systems back online and 'getting back to normal'.

"We also need your help to keep the hospital working smoothly.

"As there are still problems with the national systems which run in primary care, some patients are struggling to get GP appointments.

"Several people have come to ED this morning who don't have urgent medical problems.

"Please remember this service is for serious or life-threatening illness or injury.

"We know there are still some issues across the NHS - everyone's working hard to address these as quickly as possible and we appreciate people trying to use services sensibly and appropriately.

"Thank you for your patience and understanding."

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According to the East Midlands chamber of commerce, cyber attacks and data breaches are two of the greatest concerns for modern businesses.

Andy Watterson, Businesswatch manager and cyber crime lead at the East Midlands chamber of commerce, said: "Cyber crime is a rapidly-growing phenomenon of modern business and one that is very hard to stay one step ahead of.

"The potential for any organisation or individual to fall victim to increasingly clever cyber criminals gets bigger every day, corresponding exactly with the dependence on computers.

"But the threat is not just one of disruption, it's also the damage that can be done to corporate reputation and the huge financial penalties companies will face from next year when the European Union General Data Protection Regulations come into force."

Raising awareness of cyber threats plays a critical part in preventing them, Andy said, adding: "Companies are used to considering compliance, legal, fire and flood risks but have still not grasped the cyber risk.

"Staff working on computers are both the weakest link when it comes to cyber attacks and the last line of defence.

"If staff recognise the risks, ie, spotting and not opening suspicious emails, then the threat to their employer can be dramatically reduced, so training is crucial to corporate security."