London hospitals hit by computer virus

London hospitals hit by computer virus, NHS trust calls 'state of emergency'

Internet access and email systems were shut down yesterday at three London hospitals following an attack from an as-yet unidentified computer virus.

Managers at St Bartholemews hospital and the London NHS trust called a state of emergency following the attack, which also affected the Royal London in Whitechapel, and the London chest hospital in Bethnal Green.

Ambulances diverted

Engineers used back-up systems to keep operating theatres and outpatient clinics running. Meanwhile, ambulances were diverted to other London hospitals.

An NHS spokesman said: "There is no indication that this was a malicious attack, but engineers are still investigating where the virus came from and what it is."

NHS Smartcard abuse

The GPs' newspaper Pulse recently carried out a survey of over 300 GPs. claiming that one in six were aware of NHS staff flouting the rules and sharing smartcards, which give to access to confidential electronic medical records.

A Connecting for Health spokesperson said: "Healthcare staff should not share smartcards and if smartcards are used improperly disciplinary procedures should follow."

5% of GPs also admitted sharing their own smartcard.