Frequently Asked Questions

In light of the Synnovis cyber-attack, a collection of frequently asked questions have been collated for what this may mean for appointments and the impact on NHS services. You can find these below.


How is the cyber-attack impacting on services

Blood tests are vital for a wide range of treatments, meaning that this criminal attack has caused significant disruption in south east London across a range of different treatments. While this has resulted in the cancellation of appointments and operations affected by the attack, it’s important that any patients who have not been contacted about this do continue to attend their appointments.

All urgent and emergency services such as A&E, urgent care centres, maternity department remain open as usual (although there may be some delays if people require blood tests).


Will my appointment be cancelled?

If you have not heard from your healthcare provider, please attend appointments as normal as services including outpatients and community services are mostly running as usual, including cervical screening.


How is the NHS managing risks?

By working as a team across hospitals and other NHS organisations, NHS staff are doing an incredible job to make sure that as many patients are being seen as possible. Hospitals that are not affected by the attack are creating capacity to take patients from those who are, and London’s specialist clinical networks are offering mutual aid across areas such as cardiac surgery, renal surgery, maternity and specialist paediatrics. Teams are minimising risks as much as possible by focusing on the highest priority patients by clinical need. All tests are being triaged on arrival at the lab, so that the most clinically urgent are processed first.

Synnovis is exploring opportunities to work with other laboratories in the local area as well as further afield to increase the number of tests which can be processed as quickly as possible. Synnovis is testing alternative IT arrangements so they can automate the reporting of tests results to reduce the amount of manual effort required.


How long do you expect services to be affected for?

Synnovis is focused on the technical recovery of the system, with plans in place to begin restoring some functionality in its IT system in the weeks to come. Full technical restoration will take some time, however, and the need to re-book tests and appointments will mean some disruption from the cyber incident will be felt over coming months. We are very aware of the disruption caused to patients and staff are working hard to ensure patients have all the information they need. Patients will be kept informed about any changes to their treatment by the NHS organisation caring for them. This will be through the usual contact routes including texts, phone and letters.


Is patient data being compromised?

As more information becomes available through Synnovis’ full investigation, the NHS will continue to update patients and the public. The attack is being investigated by law enforcement agencies. More information can be found on the NHS Digital website.


Will patient test results be lost?

Unprocessed samples were made safe by Synnovis and stored in their labs. However, due to the time that has now lapsed, some of these samples are no longer suitable for analysis and will need to be discarded. Synnovis is working with the Trusts and GPs to determine which samples will be affected and the process for informing patients. They understand and apologise for any distress this may cause patients who have to re-test. They have also put additional resources in place to ensure that urgent samples received from GPs or hospitals can still be processed within appropriate timeframes.