Cyber attack: Patient describes A&E ‘chaos’ at King George Hospital

Hospitals have been targeted by a cyber attack Picture: Yui Mok/PA

Hospitals have been targeted by a cyber attack Picture: Yui Mok/PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

A patient, who attended A&E on Sunday, has described the emergency department as in a “state of chaos” following last week’s cyber attack.

On Friday hackers hit organisations across the globe with a ransomware virus, locking down IT systems and demanding money via bitcoins.

A fifth of NHS trusts across the country were affected, and King George Hospital’s blood tests, scanning, transport booking system and switchboards were disabled.

Jeff Wiseman, who attended the A&E in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, on Sunday night, told the Recorder the atmosphere was “complete chaos”.

The 76-year-old from Aldborough Hatch said: “There were people running around, they were doing everything by hand.

“It was very chaotic, there were people all over the place.”

Mr Wiseman, who was at hospital due to a problem with his mouth and lips, claimed staff could not find his records due to computer issues.

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A Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) spokesman stated the majority of services were running over the weekend, although some blood test appointments had to be cancelled.

He said: “Our teams continue to work hard to resolve the problems which remain, and minimise disruption for our patients.

“Whilst most of our services are operating as usual there may be delays and disruption to some services.

“Our number one priority is the safety of our patients.”

BHRUT were forced to reschedule some appointments, and stated it would contact all patients affected.

The spokesman added the majority did still go ahead.

The emergency department was under additional pressure as patients were being rerouted from Whipps Cross Hospital which was far worse affected by the cyber attack.

The Leytonstone hospital, which serves the west of Redbridge, had to cancel some surgeries, or move them to neighbouring hospitals.

A BHRUT spokesman had warned earlier in the week that patients should only its A&E deparments attend “in real emergencies”.

He explained: “We are very busy picking up extra patients as a result of the cyber attack.”

Save King George A&E campaigner Andy Walker said that this was further proof the emergency department should not be closed.

“It shows how critical it is we fund our NHS’ IT systems and how vital it is to keep King George A&E open.”

BHRUT has previously said the A&E will only close when nearby hospitals – Queen’s in Romford and Whipps Cross in Leytonstone – are ready and have increased capacity.