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12 May 2017
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A major cyber attack on the NHS computer system has shut down GP practices around England.
Management In Practice understands that some GP practices have had to shut down, while hospital staff found themselves unable to work.
Dr George Farrelly, a GP in East London, said his practice did not have access to patient records and could not prescribe medicines.
Dr Farrelly, who works at the Tredegar practice in Tower Hamlets, said his practice had ‘heard something might happen’ earlier in the day so had printed the appointment list.
He said: ‘I am going to see my patients but of course we cannot access any records and can’t prescribe.’
Meanwhile Dr Neil Paul, a GP in Cheshire, took a computer screenshot of the error message caused by the attack, which is requesting $300 worth of Bitcoin, the online currency.
He said that in his area around ‘half’ of practices were affected by the attack, including some cases of ‘whole practices’ being forced to shut down.
The Wingate Medical Centre in Liverpool also tweeted that it was unable to work.
And NHS Liverpool CCG warned patients to only contact their GP practice in an emergency.
A spokesperson for NHS Digital said: ‘A number of NHS organisations have reported to NHS Digital that they have been affected by a ransomware attack.
‘The investigation is at an early stage but we believe the malware variant is Wanna Decryptor.
‘At this stage we do not have any evidence that patient data has been accessed. We will continue to work with affected organisations to confirm this.
‘NHS Digital is working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre, the Department of Health and NHS England to support affected organisations, ensure patient safety is protected and to recommend appropriate mitigations.
‘This attack was not specifically targeted at the NHS and is affecting organisations from across a range of sectors.
‘Our focus is on supporting organisations to manage the incident swiftly and decisively, but we will continue to communicate with NHS colleagues and will share more information as it becomes available.’