UPDATE – BASS COAST HOTLINE IF NEEDED: 56714207

In case of an emergency call – 000

WONTHAGGI Hospital, the Phillip Island Health Hub, and hospitals at Leongatha, Korumburra and Foster have been hit by a massive cyber security breach affecting all Gippsland hospitals and many others across the state.

CEO of Bass Coast Health Jan Child has appealed to those scheduled to attend hospitals and health services for appointments to come in, but to be prepared for delays.

“We have no access to computers. They’ve all been shut down as a result of a cyber security attack which didn’t start here but has spread to us through the alliance (Bass Coast Health is part of the Gippsland Health Alliance),” Ms Child said today.

“This is the only way we can be sure that we protect patient information, to stop access to that patient information.

“We don’t believe there has been any breach of our security but it’s a precaution we have been asked to take.

“We’ve had to close down all our servers which means we don’t have access to patient appointment lists or patient information. It’s massive but we’re not on our own,” Ms Child said, indicating she thought the attack may have started at Barwon Health.

“We’re asking all those with appointments or who want to access the Wonthaggi Hospital or Phillip Island Health Hub to still come in as usual but we just may not know they are coming or have their paperwork ready.

“We will be doing everything on paper until this is sorted out so we ask that the community bears with us on this.

“Hopefully it can be sorted out quickly.”

At present all telephones to the health services are down as well so people wanting to know more should either attend their local hospital and ask or wait until a hotline can be set up – watch for details.

So the message is, turn up for your appointment as usual – but be prepared to wait.

More information as it comes to hand.

The State Government media release is as follows:

The information technology systems at a number of hospitals and health services in Gippsland and south-west Victoria have been impacted by a cyber security incident.

At this time, there is no suggestion that personal patient information has been accessed.

The Victorian Government takes all cyber risks seriously and is working with the impacted health services, Victoria Police and the Australian Cyber Security Centre to manage the incident.

A number of servers across the state have been impacted. Investigations are still taking place on the full extent of the impact.

The Victorian Cyber Incident Response Service has been deployed and worked with impacted health services overnight to respond to the attack.

The cyber incident, which was uncovered on Monday, has blocked access to several systems by the infiltration of ransomware, including financial management.

Hospitals have isolated and disconnected a number of systems such as internet to quarantine the infection.

The priority is to fix all affected systems and prevent any further compromise.

This isolation has led to the shutdown of some patient record, booking and management systems, which may impact on patient contact and scheduling. Where practical, hospitals are reverting to manual systems to maintain their services.

The affected hospitals are now working on their bookings and scheduling to minimise impact on patients, but may need to reschedule some services where they don’t have computer access to patient histories, charts, images and other information.

The hospitals impacted are those which are part of the Gippsland Health Alliance and of the South West Alliance of Rural Health.

The Victorian Cyber Incident Response Service is available 24/7 all year round to provide an emergency response to cyber-attacks on government computer systems.

Since launching, the Victorian Government Cyber Incident Response Service in July 2018, we have responded to more than 600 cyber-attacks on Victorian Government organisations.

 

UPDATE

 

The State Government released the following statement on Tuesday afternoon.

Following a cyber security incident that has affected a number of regional hospitals, measures have been taken to isolate the threat and support patients that have been impacted.

Regrettably, this has had an impact on a small number of clinical services, including outpatient appointments and elective surgery.

As a precautionary step, the affected hospitals have disconnected a number of systems such as internet to quarantine the infection.

Emergency surgery and emergency departments have not been compromised.

The hospitals affected are those that are part of the Gippsland Health Alliance and the South West Alliance of Rural Health.

At this stage, we are advised that although Barwon Health had to suspend some clinical services, most outpatient appointments and most elective surgery proceeded as planned today. There has also been a small impact to aged care at Warrnambool and radiation services in Gippsland.

Other hospitals have so far avoided having to suspend clinical services.

I want to thank patients for their understanding as we work to resolve this incident, and our hard-working nurses, doctors and other hospital staff for their efforts to manage the issue.

The Victorian Government’s priority is working with state and federal experts to get these hospitals back online as quickly as possible, so patients can get the treatment they need.

The Government continues to invest to keep our hospital networks as safe as possible – this includes $13 million in this year’s Victorian Budget for the latest digital infrastructure and cyber security.

A full review will take place to address what has occurred, and identify what additional measures may be required to ensure hospitals have the best protection against cyber security incidents.