Long delays for patients at Limerick hospitals after 'serious' ransomware attack on HSE IT systems

Limerick woman, 82, writes powerful letter of her experience as patient at ‘bomb site’ UHL

Patients attending UHL can expect long delays today

LONG delays are expected for patients attending services across UL Hospitals Group this Friday as a result of a serious ransomware attack on HSE IT systems.

Emergency services across the hospitals - University Hospital Limerick, University Maternity Hospital Limerick, Croom Orthopaedic Hospital, St John's Hospital Limerick,  Ennis Hospital, and Nenagh Hospital - continue to operate today.

Patients with an outpatient appointment or a scheduled procedure across the six hospitals are advised to attend for their appointments/procedures unless they are directly contacted by the hospital and advised otherwise.

The HSE nationally has taken the precaution of shutting down all IT systems in order to protect them from this attack and to allow them to fully assess the situation with their own security partners.

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused to patients and to the public and will give further information as it becomes available. We are appealing to members of the public to bear with us as we switch to manual back-up systems," said a spokesperson.

Emergency services and unscheduled care continue to operate across the sites. This includes our Emergency Department at UHL, Injury Units and Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s hospitals and the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit/Maternity Emergency Unit at University Maternity Hospital Limerick.

"However, we are appealing to members of the public to attend the ED only in the case of an emergency," added the spokesperson.

"In implementing our contingency plans, we are largely operating manual back-up systems. Patients attending our services today can expect delays until such time as patient information, diagnostic reporting and other affected IT systems are secure and operational."

Patients attending for scheduled care (outpatient clinics and elective surgery) are advised to attend as scheduled (unless contacted directly by the hospital and advised otherwise) but also to expect delays.

There is a range of alternatives to the Emergency Department available in the Mid-West that are appropriate for less serious illnesses, including family doctors, out-of-hours GP services, and local pharmacies.

"The Injury Units at Ennis and Nenagh Hospitals (8am-8pm daily), and St John’s Hospital (8am-7pm, daily) are an excellent option for treatment of broken bones, dislocations, sprains, strains, wounds, scalds and minor burns. Patients attending our Injury Units may also experience delays today.

If you are seriously injured or ill or are worried your life is at risk the ED will assess and treat you as a priority

The operation of our three vaccination centres at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Limerick; West County Hotel, Ennis and Abbey Court Hotel, Nenagh, are unaffected by this ransomware attack. People with a vaccination appointment are asked to attend as scheduled.

We apologise to our patients for delays or disruption in service while we work with our colleagues nationally to maintain essential services and protect patient information," concluded the spokesperson.

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