Cyber attack on NHS 111 service leaves staff using pen and paper 

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Cyber attack on NHS 111 service leaves staff using pen and paper

  • Call handlers across 85 per cent of England have had to use pen and paper
  • Many staff at NHS 111 do not have access to GP records
  • Also do not have access to NHS numbers and cannot make electronic bookings 
  • Software went offline at 7am on Thursday and may be offline until next week 

The NHS 111 service has been thrown into chaos by a cyber attack, severely restricting the assistance provided to patients.

Call handlers across 85 per cent of the country will be without a crucial IT system for several days and have had to resort to using a pen and paper.

Many staff at the non-emergency service do not have access to GP records or patients’ NHS numbers and cannot make direct electronic bookings with the likes of A&Es and GPs. 

The Adastra software went offline at 7am on Thursday and staff have been told it may be not functioning again until next week. Advanced, which supplies the service, confirmed last night the problems have been caused by a cyber attack.

Call handlers across 85 per cent of the country will be without a crucial IT system for several days and have had to resort to using a pen and paper (stock image)

Call handlers across 85 per cent of the country will be without a crucial IT system for several days and have had to resort to using a pen and paper (stock image)

However, it says it managed to limit the damage to a small number of its servers. As well as NHS 111, the system is used by some GP out-of-hours services and has also been marketed to urgent care providers.

One briefing note from commissioners in London, seen by the Health Service Journal, described the issue as a ‘total system outage’ for NHS 111, and said ‘likely delays for patients… will continue throughout the weekend and potentially over next week’.

The issue is affecting bookings, prescribing, and limiting information which NHS 111 can pass on to ambulance services.

NHS England said there was no indication any patient data had been compromised.

The issue is affecting bookings, prescribing, and limiting information which NHS 111 can pass on to ambulance services (stock image)

The issue is affecting bookings, prescribing, and limiting information which NHS 111 can pass on to ambulance services (stock image)

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