Barts Health NHS Trust have activated their major incident plan and are cancelling routine appointments as a cyber attack targets hospitals across England.

Patients are being asked to use other NHS services where possible, and ambulances are being diverted to neighbouring hospitals. The problem is also affecting the switchboard at Newham hospital but direct phone lines are working.

Barts Health Trust includes Mile End Hospital, Newham University Hospital, the Royal London Hospital, St Barholomew’s Hospital and Whipps Cross University Hospital.

A statement on the Trust’s website said: “We are experiencing a major IT disruption and there are delays at all of our hospitals.

“We have activated our major incident plan to make sure we can maintain the safety and welfare of our patients.

“We are very sorry that we have to cancel routine appointments, and would ask members of the public to use other NHS services wherever possible.

“Ambulances are being diverted to neighbouring hospitals.

“All our staff are working hard to minimise the impact and we will post regular updates on the website .”

The BBC are reporting that 16 trusts and hospitals in England, including in London, Blackburn, Nottingham, Cumbria and Hertfordshire have been affected.

A doctor in the accident and emergency department at Newham Hospital told the BBC staff are unable to turn their computers on and the department may be closing.

In a statement, NHS Digital said: "A number of NHS organisations have reported to NHS Digital that they have been affected by a ransomware attack which is affecting a number of different organisations.

"The investigation is at an early stage but we believe the malware variant is Wanna Decryptor.

"At this stage we do not have any evidence that patient data has been accessed. We will continue to work with affected organisations to confirm this.

"NHS Digital is working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre, the Department of Health and NHS England to support affected organisations and to recommend appropriate mitigations.

"This attack was not specifically targeted at the NHS and is affecting organisations from across a range of sectors.

"Our focus is on supporting organisations to manage the incident swiftly and decisively, but we will continue to communicate with NHS colleagues and will share more information as it becomes available."

The Wanna Decryptor Virus encrypts certain information on a victim's computer and then often demands money in exchange for granting the victim access to the affected files.

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