Cyber-attack leaves Southport out of hours services stretched

One of Sefton’s four out of hours services remains closed.

A Southport NHS out of hours treatment centre has closed after a “cyber incident.”

The incident, which took place in early August, involved a third party software supplier, Advanced. In response, the NHS invoked “robust defences” to protect its own network, according to an NHS Cheshire and Merseyside report released this week.

Some NHS services were left with “labour intensive” interim measures after key software was taken offline.

According to the report, published ahead of a meeting of Sefton Council’s adult social care and health scrutiny committee due to be held next Tuesday, this has created a “significant challenge” for some services and delays to traetment.

Affected services include 111, some urgent treatment centres and mental health providers.

In Sefton, the incident has led the closure of one of the borough’s four out-of-hours treatment centres after the provider “consolidated access” to its sites.

The out-of-hours service, based in Southport, is still “currently closed” according to the report with people being offered appointments elsewhere or home visits instead.

With the NHS 111 service “currently extremely busy” leading to delays in calls being answered, the report states that people are advised they could also use 111 online or get guidance on self treatment from www..nhs.uk instead if safe to do so.

The report adds that people could also get advice from local pharmacists or GPs when they are open and in an emergency should call 999.