Cyber raid chaos at Bulwell surgery

Dr Andrew Foster, of the Parkside Medical Practise, tells a reporter about the chaos caused following Friday's NHS cyber attack.
Dr Andrew Foster, of the Parkside Medical Practise, tells a reporter about the chaos caused following Friday's NHS cyber attack.

A Bulwell GP surgery has been plunged into chaos after staff were told to switch off computers following the cyber attack which hit the NHS on Friday.

Routine surgery and GP appointments were cancelled by the computer virus, which locks users’ files and demands a $300 (£230) payment to allow access, with 47 NHS trusts and 13 NHS organisations in Scotland affected.

Dr Andrew Foster, of the Parkside Medical Practise, said on Monday: “We were asked to unplug our computers on Friday and leave them off and we haven’t yet had the greenlight to switch them back on again.

“It has really plunged us back into the age of pen and paper. We have no records of who had appointments today no access to our electronic records so we are unable to process any patient queries regarding repeat prescriptions, results, letters from the hospital so it’s very difficult to provide care but we are doing our best.”

An emergency meeting was called at 7.30am on Monday, he told Sky News reporters “to try and get prepared for what we knew would be a very chaotic day.”

The patient ledger was “reconstructed” on a whiteboard to avoid double booking and pen and paper was being used to record patient consultations and prescriptions.

He asked patients to “bear with us”, and warned: “The longer the current situation continues the bigger the back log will be. It could run into weeks during which time we will be processing all the written records we made. Questions need to be asked right up to the top.”

Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, has called it the “largest ransomware attack observed in history”.

Warnings about IT security in the NHS were sounded last summer in a review.

But over the last three years the capital budget - a ring-fenced fund used to pay for buildings and equipment - has been raided by the government to bail out day-to-day services, such as A&E.

In 2016 a fifth of the capital budget was diverted making it more difficult for trusts to keep their systems up to date.

The virus has infected 200,000 machines in 150 countries since Friday and spread to organisations including FedEx, Renault and the Russian interior ministry.