05/08/2021

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HSE update on disrupted services at Portlaoise hospital in wake of 'severe' cyber attack

Covid-19 continues to also have an impact

portlaoise cyber attack

Portlaois hospital nursing and clincal leads

Services at Portlaoise hospital continue to be hit by the cyber attack on the HSE but authorities at the hospital are getting back to normal in the wake of the extensive disruption caused by it and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The HSE's Dublin Midland Hospital Group (DMHG) issued a statement on the latest situation so that the public is up to speed on what the need to know if they have to attend.

"Scheduled Care is being restored on a phased basis across Dublin Midlands Hospital Group as systems recover from last month’s devastating cyber attack.

"All services at the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise are now operational, however, there continues to be delays in some services due to the impact of the IT cyber attack. Patients should attend their appointment unless contacted by the hospital.

"Local and national IT teams have made progress in recent weeks in restoring some of our most critical patient information systems allowing us to now safely resume scheduled care. However, the cyber attack continues to have an adverse impact across the health service; recovery will be uneven, with manual workarounds continuing to be in place, across the various services. Therefore, delays should be expected and we continue to thank patients for the patience and support in this regard," it said.

The statement outlined some key points of information.

Emergency Department

Attendances to the Emergency Department at Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise remain high for this time of year. The hospital would ask patients to consider their care options via their GP or GP Out of Hours before presenting to the Emergency Department. Patients who require urgent care will be prioritised.

What to bring to your appointment

If you are attending for an appointment, bring your most recent hospital letter.

Patients attending for antenatal or maternity should also bring their combined antenatal card or patient number.

Contact the hospital

If you have a question, you can phone Midlands Hospital Portlaoise on 057 869 6771 or 057 869 6340. Visit www.hse.ie for any further changes to services or disruptions.

Visiting restrictions during COVID-19
Visits need to be pre-arranged. You need to make an appointment if you want to visit a patient in a ward area. Contact the ward or unit in advance.

Do not visit the hospital if you have symptoms of COVID-19 (high temperature, cough, shortness of breath, or loss or change to your sense of smell or taste).

The current visiting restrictions are kept under review and will be updated in line with national recommendations.

Maternity Services

·        Partners can attend for the anatomy scan and the booking scan.

·        Partners are facilitated to attend the birth once the woman is admitted to the delivery suite in labour and remains for the birth of the baby and up to 1 hour on the postnatal ward. This includes the induction of birth in the delivery suite.

·        Partners are also facilitated to be present in theatre at Caesarean Section for the birth of the baby. 

·        The Hospital have reintroduced scheduled visiting to the maternity ward since Monday 3rd May for ante natal and postnatal women, which is arranged by appointment generally this visit is scheduled for up to an hour.

·        Scheduled visiting is facilitated in the special care baby unit.

The HSE added that Portlaoise hospital is managing access and visiting to the maternity services in accordance with the national guidance. It said arrangements will be kept under constant review and in the full consideration of the safety of the women and families attending our services. 

Michael Knowles, General Manager at Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise, spoke about the extent of the disruption.

“The cyber attack has caused severe disruption in recent weeks. Our teams, with the support of the HSE ICT colleagues, continue the work of restoring our systems. While services are operational, work is continuing in the background to return and update the various systems. We have also been impacted administratively with limited, or no access to the internet and some staff emails. 

"However, we have made significant progress and it is encouraging that the work done to date in prioritising the most important clinical and patient information systems has allowed us to gradually and safely restore services for patients. We are also working to reschedule patients cancelled over the last month as soon as possible.

"I would like to thank our staff for their continued commitment and dedication during this difficult time. I would also like to thank the community for their patience and we greatly appreciate their continued support while we work to restore our systems fully,” he said.

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