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Northumbria Healthcare thanks patients and staff as clinical services get back to usual

Wednesday, 17 May, 2017
Northumbria Healthcare thanks patients and staff as clinical services get back to usual

Clinical services at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust are now largely returning back to usual business following disruption to some planned services since the global cyber-attack impacted the trust on Friday 12 May.

As all NHS organisations across the region continue to recover from the impact of the ransomware virus, leaders at Northumbria Healthcare want to thank all staff who have worked tirelessly in challenging circumstances to continue providing the highest quality of safe patient care.

The trust has now restored the large majority of clinical systems with no further cancellations expected, allowing frontline clinical teams to start getting back to usual. The trust is continuing to restore other non-clinical systems in a controlled and systematic way.

Leaders have paid tribute to the commitment of staff across the whole organisation who have shown great determination to help return to business as usual as quickly as possible.

Northumbria Healthcare is also thanking patients, their families, relatives and members of the public for their understanding during this time and using services wisely. A&E should always be kept free for those with serious or life-threatening emergencies and the trust would urge members of the public to continue following this advice from the region’s NHS as services continue to recover.

Northumbria Healthcare is now working hard to clear the backlog caused by the cyber-attack and ensure those patients who were directed affected have their treatment rearranged as a matter of priority. Patients can continue to call 0344 811 8118 with any queries. Lines are open:

· 8am until 8pm Monday to Friday
· 9am until 5pm on Saturday and Sunday

Dr Jeremy Rushmer, executive medical director at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said: “Our staff have done an absolutely fantastic job over the past five days and on behalf of the trust board I want to publicly thank every single person who has gone well above and beyond the call of duty in these unique circumstances.

“This has been an unprecedented and challenging time for everyone concerned, but its times like these that make me most proud to be part of the NHS and to work with people who care so passionately about patient care.

“Our patients and local communities in Northumberland and North Tyneside have also played their part and I want to thank people for listening to the important messages from the region’s NHS during the disruption from the cyber-attack.

“Along with our NHS partners across the region, we all need to understand why this happened and will now work collectively to learn from this and continue to make our systems as safe as they possibly can be.”

Northumbria Healthcare was one of the first organisations in the North East to be hit by the virus and despite having the most up-to-date antivirus protection available, the trust was infected on PCs that the ‘patch’ did not cover. The trust took immediate steps which meant there was minimal infection and is now taking maximum opportunity to ensure systems are safe as they are turned back on.

The trust also quickly alerted all other NHS organisations in the region including primary care services, who were then able to quickly isolate or take additional steps to protect their systems where applicable.

Once infected, the trust worked with its antivirus protection provider on Friday night to help them understand and develop the updated antivirus and patches required which have subsequently been deployed over the weekend across the NHS and other organisations around the world.