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02/08/2021

University Hospital Limerick confirms 'phased resumption' of scheduled care following cyber attack

University Hospital Limerick confirms 'phased resumption' of scheduled care following cyber attack

Scheduled care at UHL was severely impacted by the cyber attack on the HSE's IT systems

SCHEDULED care is being restored on a phased basis across UL Hospitals Group as systems recover from last month’s cyber attack on the HSE's IT system.

Outpatient appointments, day case and inpatient surgery, endoscopy and other investigations are being gradually restored at University Hospital Limerick, Croom Orthopaedic Hospital, St John’s Hospital, Ennis Hospital and Nenagh Hospital.

University Maternity Hospital Limerick was less severely impacted by the cyber attack and services there continue to operate at the levels prior to the attack on May 14.

Over 10,000 outpatient appointments, operations and investigations were cancelled across the six hospitals in the first three weeks following the cyber attack.

UL Hospitals says local and national IT teams have made progress in recent weeks in restoring some of the most critical patient information systems meaning that some scheduled care can now resume.

However, patients are being advised the cyber attack continues to have an adverse impact across the health service and that the recovery will be uneven across services and sites and that delays will remain across many areas.

Noreen Spillane, Chief Operations Officer at UL Hospitals, said: “The cyber attack has caused severe disruption in recent weeks. Our teams, with the support of the HSE nationally, continue the painstaking work of restoring our systems and the impact of this event will continue to be felt for months to come. However, it is encouraging that the work done to date in prioritising the most important clinical and patient information systems has allowed us to gradually and safely restore services for patients."

Ms Spillane says UL Hospitals is also working to reschedule patients whose procedures were cancelled over the last month as soon as possible.

"Due to the pandemic, our hospitals were already operating a reduced level of scheduled care prior to the cyber attack. This act has only added to the distress of our patients and staff and we are working with the HSE nationally on a number of initiatives to improve access to care and make up for lost time as we recover from the cyber attack and seek to exit the pandemic,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick remains very busy with record attendances in recent weeks. Members of the public are reminded to consider all care options and to only attend the ED in an emergency. 

Injury Units at St John's Hospital, Ennis Hospital and Nenagh Hospital are open seven days a week. 

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