London Hospitals Still Offline After Cyber Attack

A recent major cyber attack on NHS hospitals caused a number of procedures to be cancelled or changed, with blood transfusions said to be particularly affected, according to health trusts.

Now, an appeal has been launched for O blood-type donors to book appointments across the country following the ransomware attack affecting major London hospitals.

The recent cyber attack has meant that the affected hospitals cannot currently match patients' blood in the way that they usually do. O-negative is the type that can be given to anyone, known as the universal blood type. It is used in emergencies or when a patient’s blood type is unknown. Air ambulances and emergency response vehicles carry O-negative supplies. Several of the  London based hospitals affected have cancelled operations and tests, and were unable to carry out blood transfusions recently after the attack on the pathology firm Synnovis, which Qilin, a Russian group of cyber criminals, is believed to have been responsible for.

Emails to the NHS staff at King's College Hospital, Guy's and St Thomas’s and primary care services in London has said a critical incident had been declared.

For surgeries and procedures requiring blood to take place, hospitals need to use O- type blood as this is safe to use for all patients and blood has a shelf life of 35 days, so stocks need to be continually replenished, the NHS said. 

Eight per cent of the population have type O-negative but it comprises about 15% of hospital orders. O-positive is the most common blood type, 35% of donors have it, and it can be given to anybody with any positive blood type. This means three in every four people, or 76% of the population, can benefit from an O-positive donation.

Andrew Hollister, CISO at LogRhythm, commented " The urgent call for O-type blood donations following the ransomware attack on Synnovis is proof of the dangerous and disruptive real-life consequences caused by cyberattacks.  The ongoing repercussions from this attack are a critical reminder that cyberthreats are not victimless crimes... "

"Healthcare organizations need to treat this attack as an urgent reminder to prioritize the cybersecurity of not only their own systems but also of any third-party providers they are using."
  
"Keeping ahead of sophisticated risks requires organizations to do the basics well including patching, backups, and implementing two factor authentication everywhere possible... One hundred percent security is not possible, but organizations should seek to reduce the risk as much as possible considering the consequences of a successful compromise. Failure to take action risks the well-being of individuals that rely on essential services and no industry is safe." Hollister said.

During the recent National Blood Week, it was revealed that three blood donations are needed every minute in hospitals. There are about 13,000 appointments available nationally this week in NHS blood donor centres, with 3,400 available in London.

Blood.UK   |   BBC   |   Guardian   |   Sky   |   Standard   |    Londra Gazete

Image: @GiveBloodNHS

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