Major Cyber Attack Leads to Cancellation of Cancer Patients’ Operations in NHS Hospitals

Hundreds of cancer patients have been impacted by a significant cyber attack that resulted in the cancellation of thousands of NHS appointments. The attack specifically targeted Synnovis, a supplier of pathology services to hospitals in London, leading to more than 200 emergency and life-saving operations being cancelled by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust (GSTT) and King’s College University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

According to reports obtained by The Independent, the attack, carried out by Russian cybercrime hackers Qilin, has had a severe impact on services in south London. Synnovis is currently unable to access systems, preventing the carrying out of tens of thousands of tests daily. This situation has prompted both GSTT and King’s College to declare critical incidents, with South London and Maudsley NHS trust also experiencing disruptions.

An NHS London spokesperson expressed regret over the situation, stating that NHS staff are working tirelessly to minimize the disruption to patient care. The spokesperson highlighted the crucial role of pathology services in various treatments and acknowledged the cancellation of operations and appointments due to the cyber attack. Patients have been advised to attend their appointments unless contacted otherwise.

It remains uncertain whether patient data has been compromised in the attack, which has led to the cancellation of more than a third of procedures and operations, including over 3,000 non-surgical appointments and urgent cancer diagnosis referrals. Transplant and C-section operations have also been affected, along with blood transfusions.

Synnovis, which serves multiple hospitals and GP services across six London boroughs, is collaborating with NHSE and the NCSC to restore services swiftly and safely. The company’s spokesperson assured ongoing efforts to minimize the impact on partner services and pledged to provide updates as progress is made.