Advice for patients - ransomware attack

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A number of NHS organisations have been affected by a ransomware attack (an attack on the IT systems which support NHS services). This attack was not specifically targeted at the NHS but it has had an impact on NHS services.

The NHS is working hard to ensure that as few patients as possible are affected. Below is guidance for those accessing the NHS over the coming days.

Planned treatment and outpatient appointments

If you have a planned operation, procedure or outpatient appointment at a hospital affected by this incident, you should attend as planned. Please visit the hospital website for further advice and information about routine services at this time. If you are still unsure what to do, contact the hospital directly.

Patients already in hospital at this time will continue to receive normal care. Inpatients will be told if any changes to their planned treatment are needed because of this incident.

If you have a GP appointment

Patients with GP appointments scheduled should attend for their appointment unless they have been contacted by their GP and told not to do so. Your GP practice will be open and working as normal during at this time. However, you may experience some difficulties contacting the surgery while telephone systems are being reconnected. Appointments may be slower than usual, as some surgeries will be using paper based records whilst electronic systems are switched back on

Helping the NHS at this time

You can help the NHS cope by choosing the right service for your needs, and attending A&E only if it is essential. Apart from your hospital, there’s a range of other primary care services that can offer help, such as your GP, pharmacist, dentist or optician. There are also specific services provided by midwives, health visitors and specialist nurses.

A&E

If you need emergency care, Accident and Emergency departments are open to deal with serious and life-threatening conditions. As is always the case, only those adults and children with genuine emergency needs should go to A&E. Emergencies include:

• major injuries, such as broken limbs or severe head injury
• loss of consciousness
• an acute confused state
• fits
• severe chest pain
• breathing difficulties
• severe bleeding that can't be stopped
• severe allergic reactions
• severe burns or scalds

Alternatives to A&E

If you become ill with a non-urgent condition and need advice, please visit Health A-Z for information or go to your local pharmacist. For more urgent conditions that you believe you can’t take care of yourself, you should contact your GP as usual, or call 111.

For minor injuries or illness (cuts, sprains, rashes and so forth) you could visit a walk-in centre, minor injuries unit or urgent care centre if the problem can't wait for a GP appointment. Bear in mind that these services may be busy because of the incident which has just occurred.

May Bank Holidays – Pharmacy Opening Times

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Remember that you can still access expert medical treatment over the May Bank Holidays by visiting your local pharmacist for quick, confidential advice on a range of common illnesses.

Pharmacy opening hours in Staffordshire over the Bank Holidays can be found here .

Alternatively just dial 111 to speak to NHS 111 for non-emergency advice about health care problems. 

Statement from Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group on Queen’s Hospital A&E services

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“The Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) will enable us to deliver care closer to home for many of our services and to reduce the reliance on traditional hospital-based care. This is an exciting period of change for healthcare in the region and as part of the STP leadership, we are working hard to deliver on those commitments.

It is only when we can achieve our goal of allowing more people to be treated out of hospital day-to-day, within their local community, that we can turn our attention to those services that deliver urgent care in a hospital setting, such as our local A&Es, to understand what people really need and how.

We recognise the vital part that our A&E in Burton plays in the wellbeing of the local community and, as commissioner and provider for the population of East Staffordshire and the surrounding areas, we are united in our commitment to the A&E at Queen’s Hospital and we have no plans to close it.

Our A&E staff work incredibly hard, often in very challenging circumstances, and deliver an outstanding performance in treating people quickly, efficiently and with compassion. In fact, the Queen’s A&E is currently one of the top performers against the national four hour standard, and we are attracting the cream of the medical profession to come and work in the unit.

We want local people to understand our commitment to the A&E services at Queen’s Hospital and for our staff to feel reassured in their continuing career development with us. This is a great time to work at Queen’s and we want to encourage more healthcare professionals, particularly nursing staff, to come and join the ranks of our high performing A&E.”

Tony Bruce, Accountable Officer, East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group
Helen Scott-South, Chief Executive, Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust