A number of NHS organisations have been affected by a ransomware attack (an attack on the IT systems which support NHS services). This attack was not specifically targeted at the NHS but it has had an impact on NHS services.
The NHS is working hard to ensure that as few patients as possible are affected. Below is guidance for those accessing the NHS over the coming days.
Planned treatment and outpatient appointments
If you have a planned operation, procedure or outpatient appointment at a hospital affected by this incident, you should attend as planned. Please visit the hospital website for further advice and information about routine services at this time. If you are still unsure what to do, contact the hospital directly.
Patients already in hospital at this time will continue to receive normal care. Inpatients will be told if any changes to their planned treatment are needed because of this incident.
If you have a GP appointment
Patients with GP appointments scheduled should attend for their appointment unless they have been contacted by their GP and told not to do so. Your GP practice will be open and working as normal during at this time. However, you may experience some difficulties contacting the surgery while telephone systems are being reconnected. Appointments may be slower than usual, as some surgeries will be using paper based records whilst electronic systems are switched back on
Helping the NHS at this time
You can help the NHS cope by choosing the right service for your needs, and attending A&E only if it is essential. Apart from your hospital, there’s a range of other primary care services that can offer help, such as your GP, pharmacist, dentist or optician. There are also specific services provided by midwives, health visitors and specialist nurses.
If you need emergency care, Accident and Emergency departments are open to deal with serious and life-threatening conditions. As is always the case, only those adults and children with genuine emergency needs should go to A&E. Emergencies include:
- major injuries, such as broken limbs or severe head injury
- loss of consciousness
- an acute confused state
- severe chest pain
- breathing difficulties
- severe bleeding that can’t be stopped
- severe allergic reactions
- severe burns or scalds
Alternatives to A&E
If you become ill with a non-urgent condition and need advice, please visit Health A-Z for information or go to your local pharmacist. For more urgent conditions that you believe you can’t take care of yourself, you should contact your GP as usual, or call 111.
For minor injuries or illness (cuts, sprains, rashes and so forth) you could visit a walk-in centre, minor injuries unit or urgent care centre if the problem can’t wait for a GP appointment. Bear in mind that these services may be busy because of the incident which has just occurred.