A mother who took her daughter to an appointment at Crumlin Children’s Hospital this morning said the tension among staff working without a computer system was “just unbelievable.”
The HSE is working to rebuild its IT systems after it fell victim to a major ransomware attack in the early hours of Friday morning.
Systems have been shut down ever since and thousands of patients have had their appointments cancelled for the coming week.
Urgent care centres and Emergency Departments remain open across the country and patients can access the latest information on medical services here.
On Lunchtime Live this morning, Dublin mother Gillian said staff at Crumlin Children’s Hospital were under serious pressure when she arrived with her daughter for her appointment this morning.
“I got my text on Friday so I wasn’t too concerned. I didn’t know if some systems were working and others not but when I went up this morning, the tension was just unbelievable,” she said.
“The security staff didn’t really know what they could do. The check-in staff had nothing, literally all the computers are switched off up there. They are just sitting behind the desk.
“I saw one woman rocking up to say, ‘I’m here today, I have a text’ and the receptionist says, ‘have you the consultants name or anything?’
“They said, ‘no there are a few consultants so I’ve no idea who I’m here to see.’ The reception says, ‘well I can’t help you because there are no computers so you will just have to find out.”
Children’s Health Ireland has said it is responding to the situation by using risk assessment and manual paper-based processes.
It said elective operations and face to face outpatient clinics are happening today; however, patients are being warned to expect delays.
Gillian said there was confusion among hospital staff about what to do next.
“One receptionist said, ‘we can’t take anybody anymore because we have no computers, we can’t check anybody in and that’s that,” she said.
“Then a nurse came up from the trauma area and said, you can’t turn people away. If they have a text and they know they have an appointment they must be seen and you’ll have to write it down on a piece of paper.
“Then they decided that whoever had files, maybe that were left there from Friday ready for Monday at the desk, that they would see them and then cancel the whole week other than that.”
"Who is protecting my information?"
Also on the show, caller Elizabeth said she works in cybersecurity and is furious at the HSE for failing to protect its systems better.
“I am really quite angry with the HSE and I just can’t understand why they haven’t protected our data better,” she said.
“When I was having my baby, they were using Windows 2007 to get my data. That is end-of-life. That is really old software that has no protection, no patches and no security updates anymore.”
She said she is now “really anxious” about the data that may now be in the hands of hackers.
“That is really personal data and they have said they are not going to pay to protect that data,” she said.
“That data is valuable and what is going to happen to it now?
“The HSE says it is not going to pay the ransom so who is going to buy it? Where is it going to go?
“I can understand them saying we are not going to pay because we don’t want to encourage this sort of thing but on the hand who is protecting my data. Who is protecting the scans of my unborn baby and my incredibly personal data that very few people know?”
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