Welwyn Garden City and Stevenage hospitals recovering, but patients outraged at cyber-attack

PUBLISHED: 14:30 17 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:41 17 May 2017

New QEII Hospital

New QEII Hospital

Archant

Boffins have restored much of the IT systems that support vital medical services for the people of Welwyn Hatfield, but the area’s two major hospitals are still suffering from last week’s cyber-attack.

Although paramedics are still being advised to divert heart attack and stroke victims to other specialist hospitals, the trust running Welwyn Garden City’s New QEII and Stevenage’s Lister Hospital says its experts are working hard to repair the harm caused by the computer hack, part of a huge worldwide operation.

According to the trust: “They are still working hard to resolve any outstanding issues as quickly as possible.”

Patients who have not been told their appointments are cancelled should assome they are going ahead, except for sleep and CPAP [a breathing treatment] patients, who should check on 01438 284898.

But patients whose treatments have already been disrupted have told the Welwyn Hatfield Times of their frustration and anger at the perpetrators.

Vikki Mason, 27, of Welwyn Garden city, needed help over the weekend as her severely ill 19-month old son Elliott was in great pain.

She said: “I knew the hospitals were down so we tried to keep him comfortable at home and just hoped the pain would pass.

“However it didn’t so I tried to call his nurses, who usually answer and come straight away, but their phones were down. I managed to get hold of their manager and he rang the nurses on their personal phones.

“On Monday I took Elliot to Lister and we were there for nine hours just to do an X-ray.

“Everything had to be done by hand and written out and the doctors couldn’t send the X-rays to Great Ormond Street Hospital; the computers weren’t being used.

“It turned out that the tube going into Elliot’s bowel had twisted and was causing him immense pain.

“The nurses and doctors, as usual, were amazing and made the best of a bad situation.”

Lyndis Rengert, 81, of Hatfield, who went deaf six months ago, had her final appointment at the New QEII on Saturday to get a hearing aid fitted cancelled.

She said: “After learning about these cyber-attacks on the news I rang the hospital to see if my appointment was still going ahead before I made my way down there.

“No one answered the phone, so I left a message,. but no one rang back so I went to the QEII and the young lady on reception told me all appointments were cancelled because they couldn’t communicate with Lister.”

“It was my last appointment so it’s very disappointing.

“I miss out on conversations with my family and others because I can’t hear properly but there are people so much worse off because of this attack.

“It’s disgusting that these people [the cyber-attackers] would do this. They haven’t thought of other people and there is no care for the people that it is affecting.”


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