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Kent’s hospitals dodge cyber attack which wreaked havoc with NHS services over weekend

PUBLISHED: 08:39 15 May 2017 | UPDATED: 17:01 15 May 2017

Gravesham community hospital

Gravesham community hospital

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It was the only NHS trust reportedly affected by the attack

Patients across Kent’s hospitals were able to use services as normal over the weekend, after all of the trusts behind them avoided a ransomware attack on the NHS.

The virus swept across the NHS on Friday, holding computers to ransom for $300 worth of online currency Bitcoin, threatening to delete files if the payment was not made.

Concerns were raised more NHS services could be affected on Monday, but Kent’s hospital trusts confirmed they had not been targeted in the scam, thought to have accessed computers via email.

East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust, which runs five hospitals in the county including William Harvey in Ashford and Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother in Margate confirmed it had avoided an attack.

In a statement it said: “East Kent Hospitals unaffected by yesterday’s cyber attack. All services are operating as normal.”

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, which runs Darent Valley Hospital, confirmed it had not been affected by the virus.

A spokesperson said: “Our IT teams were in over the weekend making sure our systems were robust enough to protect against a possible infection, and our firewall was up to date to prevent such a problem.”

Medway Maritime Hospital’s trust, Medway NHS Foundation Trust also confirmed it had avoided an attack, as did Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust.

Liz Capp-Gray, acting director of health informatics at Medway Foundation Trust, said: “I can confirm that we have not, so far, been directly targeted by the WannaCry ransomware attack.

“Our pro-active routine maintenance and planned security and anti-virus update programme, coupled with the county-wide Internet Security Filter has protected us. Work is ongoing to ensure that this remains the case and we are continuing to monitor the situation closely.”’

Kent Community Health Trust, which runs community hospitals and minor injuries units across the county, was not a victim of the attack, but reportedly shut down its digital servers as a precautionary measure - causing disruption despite not being affected directly.

On its Twitter account, @NHSKentCHFT, thanked IT and health staff for providing “business as usual” service for patients.

The trust is behind community hospitals including Sevenoaks Hospital and Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital in Herne Bay while also running a number of minor injuries units including the one at Gravesham Community Hospital.

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