HSE cyberattack: Rebuilding of computer network could take months

Hse Cyberattack: Rebuilding Of Computer Network Could Take Months
It will take 'several weeks' before computer systems in HSE-run hospitals return. Photo: Cesc Maymo/Getty
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Restoration of computer systems in the health service will take “many weeks” following last week’s cyberattack, according to the Health Service Executive.

While some IT systems in voluntary hospitals could return this week, it will take “several weeks” before systems in other, HSE-run hospitals return, it said.


The complete rebuilding of its computer network could take several months, sources told The Irish Times.

With major disruption set to continue, the HSE said many emergency departments were very busy and patients requiring non-urgent care could expect significant delays. Registration of births and deaths has also been hit, as details cannot be submitted by email.

The cyberattack is continuing to have a serious impact on radiation oncology, because medical staff are unable to access details of individual treatment plans. Essential services, such as blood tests and diagnostic services are taking much longer to operate than usual, the HSE said in its latest update.

Hospitals and other services have been asked to plan for operating essential services “within contingency arrangements” for the next two weeks, it said.


Dublin hospitals

In contrast, the main Dublin hospitals appear to be relatively unaffected. St Vincent’s, the Mater and St James’s all said no patient appointments had been cancelled, while the Mater said all services would be fully operational on Wednesday.

The HSE said progress has been made in rebuilding the national system used to store CT scans, X-rays and MRI scans. Staff in cancer centres are working to find interim solutions for the problems experienced in radiation oncology.

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Many medical files have not been compromised, according to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, citing experts advising the HSE. He said progress was being made and extensive back-ups were believed to be in place.

The HSE has said all staff who are due to receive their wages this week will be paid.

On Wednesday, the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin is due to become the first to return to normal services for many patients following the cyberattack.

The hospital says it will return “earlier than expected” to a full maternity and paediatric service. Some gynaecology services will be restored this week, but clinics and appointments that rely on lab and radiology services will not.

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