NHS Issues Urgent Blood Donation Appeal After IT Cyber Attack Leaves Hospitals Struggling

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NHS Issues Urgent Blood Donation Appeal After IT Cyber Attack Leaves Hospitals Struggling

The NHS has issued an urgent appeal for blood donors following a cyber attack that has severely impacted hospitals in London. The ransomware attack, which occurred on Tuesday, has left major hospitals struggling to match blood for transfusions, causing significant disruption to patient care.

The attack targeted Synnovis, a key pathology partner, affecting services at King’s College Hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’, the Royal Brompton, and the Evelina London Children’s Hospital. The cyber attack caused the cancellation of several procedures and has had a major impact on blood transfusions, as hospitals are unable to match patients’ blood as efficiently as before.

Qilin, a Russian cybercriminal group, is believed to be behind the attack. In response, NHS Blood and Transplant is calling for all O-Positive and O-Negative blood donors to book appointments at one of London’s 25 NHS donor centres to replenish stocks.

Blood donations have a shelf life of 35 days, necessitating continuous replenishment to meet the demands of surgeries and medical procedures. Stocks have already been affected by the recent bank holidays and half-term, further exacerbating the current shortage.

Dr. Gail Miflin, chief medical officer at NHS Blood and Transplant, emphasized the urgency: “To support London hospitals to carry out more surgeries and to provide the best care we can for all patients, we need more O-Negative and O-Positive donors than usual. Please book an urgent appointment to give blood at one of our 25 town and city donor centres which currently have good appointment availability.”

Professor Stephen Powis, medical director for NHS England, praised the efforts of NHS staff but highlighted the significant challenges they face: “NHS staff are continuing to go above and beyond to minimise the significant disruption to patients following the ransomware cyber attack on Synnovis earlier this week. Urgent and emergency services are available as usual, but a number of operations and appointments have been postponed or diverted.”

The appeal is especially critical as O-Negative blood, known as the universal donor type, can be given to anyone and is often used in emergencies. O-positive is the most common blood type and can be given to anyone with a positive blood type, covering about 76% of the population.

The NHS is encouraging both existing and new donors to come forward, as new donors might have these vital blood types that can be used in emergencies.

To assist, NHS Blood and Transplant has made 13,000 appointments available in donor centres across the region.

For more information and to book an appointment, visit the NHS Blood and Transplant website.

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