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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

Cyberattack Hits London Hospitals: 800 Operations Canceled

Cyberattack Hits London Hospitals: 800 Operations Canceled
Keira Waddell Published on 18th June 2024 Senior Writer

Pathology services provider Synnovis was targeted in a cyberattack on June 3, leading to widespread disruption across London hospitals. The ransomware attack, attributed to the Russian gang Qilin, has had a severe impact on medical services, forcing the cancellation of over 800 planned operations and 700 outpatient appointments within the first week.

Synnovis, a joint venture between Synlab UK & Ireland, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, manages vital laboratory and diagnostic services. The cyberattack encrypted Synnovis's files, rendering them inaccessible and significantly reducing the number of tests that could be processed and reported back to clinical teams.

The two most affected NHS trusts, King’s College Hospital and Guy’s and St Thomas’, had to postpone 832 surgical procedures, including critical operations such as cancer surgeries, organ transplants, planned caesarean sections, and heart procedures. Additionally, 736 outpatient appointments were rescheduled. The disruption also led to the diversion of 18 organs, primarily kidneys, to other hospitals.

NHS England London declared a regional incident and coordinated efforts across affected services and neighboring providers. Measures included rerouting blood tests and working with NHS Blood and Transplant to provide extra stocks of universal blood types. St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been treating some of the most severely affected patients.

Despite these efforts, the attack's impact remains substantial, with ongoing disruptions expected for several months. Optional blood-borne virus tests have been suspended, and blood tests are being prioritized for urgent cases. Primary care appointments continue as normal, but only urgent referrals for blood sciences are being accepted.

Dr. Chris Streather, NHS London’s Medical Director, acknowledged the significant impact on services, stating that staff are "working round the clock to mitigate the impact." Both Dr. Streather and Synnovis emphasized that full technical restoration of the system will take time, and the need to re-book tests and appointments will prolong the disruption.

Professor Ian Abbs and Professor Clive Kay, Chief Executives of Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College Hospital, expressed regret for the inconvenience caused to patients and assured that efforts to reschedule appointments and treatments are ongoing.

The National Cyber Security Centre is involved in investigating the incident, focusing on restoring services and assessing any potential data breaches. Patients are advised to attend their appointments as planned unless notified otherwise, and those requiring emergency care should continue to use services as usual.

About the Author

Keira is an experienced cybersecurity and tech writer dedicated to providing comprehensive insights on VPNs, online privacy, and internet censorship.