NHS cancer patients hit by treatment delays after cyber-attack

Hospitals across the country were forced to cancel routine procedures and divert emergency cases after malware attack

A week ago, Alice found out that she had bowel cancer. Doctors fast-tracked the 62-year-old for treatment and she was due to meet with her consultant on Monday. But on Friday her appointment was cancelled after the NHS was hit in a global cyber-attack.

“It’s devastating to hear you have cancer in the first place and anything that delays you getting any treatment that could be life-saving is even more devastating,” she said. “Everything depends on access to computer records so my treatment will be delayed. This makes me feel my survival chances have been reduced.”

Alice – not her real name – is one of many cancer patients who are likely to have had their treatment delayed or postponed due to the ransomware attack that affected 45 NHS sites. The spread of the malware, which is designed to disrupt or gain access to a computer system, was halted at most sites on Saturday but not until after hospitals cancelled routine procedures and diverted emergency cases.

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