A software outage affecting some NHS services across the UK was caused by a cyber attack, it has been confirmed.
Advanced, a company that provides digital services for NHS 111, said the attack happened at 07:00 BST on Thursday.
The attack affected telephone service and email referrals to out-of-hours GPs, but the NHS said the disruption was minimal.
The National Crime Agency said it was “aware of a cyber incident” and was working with Advanced.
“A security issue was identified yesterday which resulted in a loss of service,” said Advanced boss Simon Short.
“We can confirm that the incident is linked to a cyber attack and as a precaution we have immediately isolated all of our health and care environments.
“The early intervention of our incident response team limited this issue to a small number of servers representing 2% of our health and care infrastructure. »
Family doctors in London have been warned by NHS England that they may see an increased number of patients being referred to them by NHS 111 due to the “significant technical issue”, industry magazine Pulse reported.
He said a letter to GPs in the capital said the issue affected the electronic patient referral process.
On Friday, the Welsh Ambulance Service reported the outage as “significant” and “ongoing”.
“There is a major breakdown of a computer system used to refer patients from NHS 111 Wales to out-of-hours GPs.
“The current outage is significant and has been far-reaching, affecting each of the UK’s four countries. »
An NHS spokesperson said there was currently little disruption and they were monitoring the situation.
“NHS 111 services are still available for sick patients, but as always, if it is an emergency please call 999,” they said.
“There are currently few disruptions and the NHS will continue to monitor the situation as they work with Advanced to resolve their software system as quickly as possible – proven contingency plans are in place for local areas using this service. »
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