NHS 111 services across England have been unable to access vital IT systems for two days following a crash believed to have been caused by a cyberattack.
A major IT system called Adastra, used by 85 per cent of NHS 111 providers, and several out-of-hours services, was knocked offline on Thursday and may not be back until next week, the Health Service Journal reported.
Neither NHS England nor Advance, which runs the Adastra system, would confirm reports that a cyberattack is thought to be to blame.
The news follows a major IT crash at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital Foundation Trust in London that left clinicians without access to patients’ records and forced the trust to cancel patients’ appointments for days.
That outage was trigged by the heatwave on 19 July. In an apology to patients last week, the trust said: “Regrettably we have had to postpone a number of procedures and appointments, something we never want to do. As our management systems return we will be in a position to assess the full impact of the situation, and contact patients and begin to rearrange their care as quickly as possible. We know this will be a complex task and will take both time and dedication.”
GPs in London were warned they may see a rush of patients sent by NHS 111 due to a “significant technical issue” and “system outage”.
Pulse magazine was told the issue had left NHS 111 unable to book patients into GP appointment slots.
An NHS spokesperson said: “NHS 111 services are still available for patients who are unwell, but as ever if it is an emergency please call 999.
“There is currently minimal disruption and the NHS will continue to monitor the situation as it works with Advanced to resolve their software system as quickly as possible – tried and tested contingency plans are in place for local areas who use this service.”