NHS hospitals in England are having to redirect patients following a large-scale crippling cyber-attack which has taken control of IT systems.
The IT systems of numerous NHS sites across England have been simultaneously hit with a large-scale cyber attack leaving medical staff without access to essential patient records.
Hospitals are activating their major incident plans and reportedly shutting down IT systems and internet access while the threat is contained.
GCHQ, NHS Digital and the National Crime Agency are working together to defend against the attack and restore IT access.
Affected computers are displaying a pop-up message demanding a bitcoin ransom in exchange for access to the PCs and ultimately patient records.
Hospitals currently known to be effected are those run by; East and North Hertfordshire NHS trust, Barts Health in London, Essex Partnership university NHS trusts, the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, Southport and Ormskirk hospital NHS trust and Blackpool teaching hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
One NHS IT worker told the Guardian: “At approximately 12.30pm we experienced a problem with our email servers crashing. Following this a lot of our clinical systems and patient systems were reported to have gone down".
It was only earlier this year that the data of hundreds of NHS staff in Scotland was compromised in a cyber attack.
It is unknown at this time if any patient information has been compromised. NHS England said it was aware of the problem and would release more details soon.