HSE warns of "significant delays" at emergency departments

ireland
Hse Warns Of "Significant Delays" At Emergency Departments
The delays come following last week's cyberattack.
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James Cox

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has warned people to expect “significant delays” at emergency departments due to the ongoing disruption caused by last week's ransomware attack.

“Please only attend if you need urgent care,” the HSE said in an update on Wednesday evening.

Most hospital appointments are still going ahead as planned but many x-ray appointments have been cancelled.

Most community health services such as disability, mental health, primary care and older people’s services are operating as normal, along with Covid-19 vaccinations and tests.

However, there may be some delays in Covid-19 test results.

Cyberattack

The HSE also said screening appointments for this week may be rescheduled along with online services affected by the cyberattack.

These services include medical card applications and GP visit card applications.

There will also be delays in issuing birth, death and marriage certificates.

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Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said it will take “several weeks” to get all the HSE's IT systems running as normal following the cyberattack.

Speaking in the Dáil on Wednesday, Mr Donnelly said that the HSE had to assess and recover 2,000 patient-facing systems, “each supported by infrastructure, multiple servers and devices”.

He said this amounted to around 80,000 machines in total.

Urgent care

Mr Donnelly said the HSE's priority must be patients in need of urgent care.

In particular, every effort has been made to maintain cancer services at present, “with a particular focus on urgent and time-sensitive cases,” he said.

“Unfortunately, radiotherapy services are particularly impacted, medical oncology is continuing with some delay, and plans are being developed to relocate some of these services to the private hospitals on a temporary basis.”

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