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HSE warns of similar level of disruption this week due to cyberattack

By David Lynch - 24th May 2021

The HSE has warned that disruption to healthcare services this week is expected to be similar to the upheaval experienced last week as efforts continue to restore IT systems. 

In an update on the cyberattack, the HSE said that despite progress in restoring systems at some sites “this is uneven across the country and levels of disruption this week are expected to be similar to those of last week”. 

“Slow, steady progress is being made but this restoration work must be done in a very safe way and we anticipate it will take a number of weeks,” read an update issued on 23May. 

“Some hospital labs and radiology systems have been restored and are operational. A number of sites have partially restored local IT systems within their local sites. However, for other hospitals we are looking at a longer period of restoration.”

The encryption tool received by the HSE last week is being tested manually but “this is a slow process,” the HSE warned. 

The HSE is prioritising the return of diagnostic imaging, laboratory systems and radiation oncology. 

It is assessing two thousand IT patient facing systems and around 80,000 HSE devices. 

Details of some recent clinical activity have been “lost” in the attack but the HSE will likely  be able to recover older patient records.   

Emergency departments (EDs) are “very busy with high numbers of patient attendances”. 

Screening services have been disrupted, with CervicalCheck screening temporarily halted last week. 

According to the HSE, CervicalCheck screening appointments will resume from today, Monday, 24 May. The waiting time for receipt of smear test results is about eight weeks. 

The National Integrated Medical Imaging System (NIMIS) for radiology is live again at Beaumont and the Coombe hospitals. 

But community services and some primary care centres are experiencing issues with phone lines. 

As personal data from the attack is released for criminal use the HSE advised people receiving any suspicious calls, texts or other contacts seeking personal or banking details to report these contacts to the Garda confidential line 1800 666111.

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