Service as normal across Moorfields sites

Moorfields Eye Hospital is unaffected by a ransomware cyber attack that caused severe disruptions in the NHS, but staff “remain vigilant”

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The UK’s leading eye health service provider has so far escaped unscathed from a cyber attack that brought large sections of the NHS to a halt last week.

Moorfields Eye Hospital, which employs 2300 staff and operates at 32 sites, confirmed on Monday (15 May) that services across all sites were running as normal after the ransomware outbreak on Friday (12 May).

Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust chief information officer, Elisa Steele, told OT that additional security measures released by NHS Digital and Microsoft over the weekend in response to the attack had been put in place.

“Our systems are currently unaffected by the ransomware cyber attack but we remain vigilant,” she highlighted.

“We would like to reassure patients that all of our sites across our network are open as usual including our A&E department at our City Road campus,” Ms Steele emphasised.

Staff were continuing to monitor the situation closely, she added.

The ransomware attack saw routine surgeries and appointments cancelled across many GP practices and hospitals in England and Wales.

The BBC reported on Monday that 16 of the 47 NHS trusts affected by the cyber attack were still experiencing issues.

The outbreak was estimated to have hit more than 200,000 machines in 150 countries since Friday.

The Association of Optometrists’ clinical director, Dr Peter Hampson, told OT that the security breach highlighted the need for extra investment in IT across the NHS.

Dr Hampson outlined to OT that the cyber attack had the potential to severely impact patient care.

“Treatment for time sensitive conditions, such as wet AMD could potentially be delayed if patient records and imaging systems cannot be accessed,” he elaborated.

Optics had received no external government funding for IT connectivity or infrastructure, but was expected to adhere to the same information governance standards as the rest of the NHS, Dr Hampson added.

The latest statement from the National Cyber Security Centre explained that there had been no “sustained new attacks” since Friday, but it was possible that further ransomware cases would come to light this week.

The centre, which was opened in February 2017 to provide advice on national cyber security incidents, emphasised that there are several simple steps that organisations and the public could take to reduce the risk of being targeted by a ransomware attack.

Advice on boosting computer security for companies, as well as small businesses and home users, can be found on the National Cyber Security Centre’s website

Image credit: Christiaan Colen