Ireland’s health service shuts down IT systems over ‘significant ransomware attack’

Ireland’s health service has closed down its computer systems after what it described as a “significant ransomware attack”.

The Republic’s Health Service Executive (HSE) said it had shut down its entire IT network as a “precaution”.

It said COVID-19 vaccination appointments were not affected by the cyber attack and were going ahead as planned.

“There is a significant ransomware attack on the HSE IT systems,” the HSE said on Twitter.

“We have taken the precaution of shutting down all our IT systems in order to protect them from this attack and to allow us fully assess the situation with our own security partners.”

It added: “We apologise for inconvenience caused to patients and to the public and will give further information as it becomes available.

“Vaccinations not affected are going ahead as planned.”

The Rotunda maternity hospital in Dublin has been forced to cancel many routine appointments due to the IT issues as a result of what it said was a “critical emergency”.

“Due to a serious IT issue all outpatient visits are cancelled today – unless you are at 36 weeks pregnant or later,” the hospital tweeted.

It said all gynaecological clinics had been cancelled on Friday.

In a tweet, the hospital added: “If you have any urgent concerns please attend as normal.”

The country’s National Ambulance Service said it had been unaffected and was operating as normal.

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