NHS cyber attack: Hospital boss praises IT staff

WWL chief executive Andrew Foster (right) with senior staff
WWL chief executive Andrew Foster (right) with senior staff

Health bosses have heaped praise on hard-working IT staff tackling the after effects of a cyber attack on the NHS.

Chief executive of Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust, Andrew Foster, said almost all local systems are working normally.

Wigan Infirmary's IT system was wiped out by a computer virus for more than 12 hours on Friday with dozens of health trusts across the country also affected.

Tech experts continue to fix the problem, which the NHS has declared a 'major incident', amid warnings services could be hampered throughout the early part of this week.

Computers at walk-in centres, hospitals, and at GP surgeries have been taken offline, along with some telephone services.

Prime Minister Theresa May said it came as part of a wider international attack.

Posting on Twitter, Mr Foster said on Sunday evening: "Our magnificent IT team has worked through the weekend and tackled eight infected systems and around 30 PCs (personal computers).

He had said earlier at the weekend: "Patients safe, staff cheerful, IT department working non-stop. Main systems working well."

The borough's public health director Prof Kate Ardern also acknowledged the work of the hospital's IT staff. She said: "Brilliant work by WWL colleagues, please pass on my very best wishes to the IT team."

However, the full scale of the international attack may only become apparent when people return to work on Monday, experts have warned.

More than 200,000 victims in around 150 countries have been infected by the ransomware which originated in the UK and Spain on Friday before spreading globally.

Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the National Cyber Security Centre, said the outbreak could continue to infect more systems and other victims may emerge.

An NHS England spokesman described it is a "very complex emerging picture".

People are advised to attend any hospital or doctor appointments as normal, unless they are contacted and told not to.

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