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NHS hospitals in England hit by massive crippling cyber-attack

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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.

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Primary Care

Universities turn to Clearing as Nursing & Midwifery Applications drop by 8%

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UCAS figures show a drop of 8% in applications to Nursing & Midwifery courses – Universities have turned to clearing to fill gaps.

Experts are warning that there will not be enough new healthcare staff being trained to keep pace with demand as UCAS, the University Admissions Service, figures showed that there had been an 8% drop in students who had been placed into university this year compared to 2016.

Universities have been forced to offer the, usually over-subscribed, Nursing, Midwifery and Medicine subjects to students going through clearing.

The figures also reveal the number of ‘mature students’, people aged over 25, who have been placed into nursing courses has decreased by 12% since 2016.

Despite the low number of applicants the government announced 10,000 extra ‘funded’ places and an additional 21,000 mental health professionals. Figures that the Royal College of Nursing have heavily criticised.

Janet Davis, RCN Chief Executive, said;

“The longstanding pay cap is driving people away from nursing, and understaffing heaps pressure on those who are left. Most worryingly, we don’t have enough nurses to guarantee patient safety,” she argued.

“The government has promised 10,000 more health care professionals in the next five years, but we need transparency over how it intends to monitor its progress.

“We are calling on the government to publish the actual number of nursing students starting this autumn by the end of this year.”

Official figures how that admissions to Nursing and Midwifery courses have consistently fallen since the removal of the NHS Student Bursary which combined with a significant drop in EU workers could lead to a staffing crisis for the NHS.

NHS Digital revealed last month that over 11,500 Nursing and Midwifery vacancies remain unfilled in England.

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Primary Care

RCN supports the launch of the National Bereavement Care Pathway

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The Royal College of Nursing has announced it will be supporting the launch of the National Bereavement Care Pathway.

Led by stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands, the pathway is designed to improve care for parents and families who have lost a baby during pregnancy or up to 12 months after the child is born.

With support from the Department of Health, the new materials, guidance and training will be trialled at 11 sites in England, who will work with the project team to evaluate how well the NBCP can improve bereavement care.

The NHS sites, which include the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, have been chosen to be representative of geography, capacity and specialism.

The pilot will begin in October and is supported by a variety of leading organisations from the Lullaby Trust to NHS England.

Carmel Bagness, RCN Professional Lead for Midwifery and Women’s Health, said: “The loss of a baby is an absolute tragedy and it is up to health care staff to provide the best care possible for bereaved parents and families.

“This pathway could really help to improve the care they receive during this difficult time. We hope this pilot is just the first step towards better care throughout the country for parents and families suffering from this terrible loss.”

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