Written answers

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Department of Health

Health Service Executive

Photo of Kathleen FunchionKathleen Funchion (Carlow-Kilkenny, Sinn Fein)
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401. To ask the Minister for Health the expected timeframe for the return to normal service for the HSE after the cyberattack. [31389/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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The HSE has been working since 14th May last to recover the effects of the cyber attack on its systems. The attack had the impact of removing access to most patient and care systems as well as the central business systems of the HSE. Over the last weeks many of these systems have been recovered and services have recommenced. There was a priority focus on key systems in the hospital and community areas with a view to resuming vita services. Some of the key areas recovered included, radiotherapy, laboratory, imaging, pharmacy, mental health systems, email and patient administration systems.

At present most systems are operational and services are returning to normal activity. There is a challenge in back entering data and indeed loss of records at a time when the HSE was working mostly on paper based processes. There are still a number of areas of ongoing concern including endoscopy in some locations, sterile supplies, stroke telemedicine email still has issues while the systems themselves are back.

The impact of the attack on services has been to increase risk associated with the absence of systems or the use of manual processes, the loss of some services such as endoscopy, radiotherapy and scheduled care including community therapies. The position now is that most services have returned and have begun to catch up on patients / service users that were delayed. The HSE was already seeking to recover from the Covid peak of Jan/Feb 2021 so the attack has delayed this and had the effect of increasing access delays for services.

As this Parliamentary Question relates to an operational issue, it is a matter for the HSE. However, members of the Oireachtas are advised that the HSE is currently unable to access the information to answer Parliamentary Questions due to the recent cyber-attack, which has required a temporary shut-down of HSE IT systems. The disruption to service is on-going, and the HSE is working hard to restore its IT capacity and resume normal services. Members of the Oireachtas will be advised as soon as the HSE is again in a position to provide responses to PQs and are encouraged to resubmit their Parliamentary Questions at that point.


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