Dean Street sexual health services closed ‘until further notice’ after NHS cyber attack
Sexual health services are struggling to rebuild in the wake of a cyber attack that devastated the UK’s National Health Service.
The NHS was crippled on Friday by a malware attack which blocked access to crucial IT systems unless a ransom was paid.
The breach sparked a major emergency in more than a dozen NHS Trusts across the country.
Some of the impacted hospitals were forced to cancel all appointments, while in other areas people were warned to avoid going to A&E unless an emergency.
HIV and sexual health clinics are among those impacted, with severe disruptions at London’s Dean Street clinic.
56 Dean Street is part of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS trust, one of those impacted by the attack.
The clinic, which caters for much of London’s LGBT community, said in a statement: “Services at 56 Dean Street and Dean Street Express continue to be severely affected this morning due to a second wave of cyber attack.
“Dean Street Express will be closed to all patients [and] remains closed until further notice.”
It continues: “56 Dean Street is running a very limited emergency service for patients needing Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) and Emergency Contraception.
“All GUM & HIV appointments today have been cancelled and patients contacted directly.
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“Our IT Teams are working as fast as possible to resolve these issues & we are again very sorry for the continued disruption.”
An earlier statement added: “We are sorry for the ongoing disruption to our services.
“IT Teams have been working all weekend however Computer systems will remain suspended tomorrow as a precaution whilst cyber-attack issues at our sister sites are dealt with.”
Dean Street has been at the forefront of the battle against HIV in the capital, and recently reported a 40% drop in HIV diagnoses in just 12 months.
The facility, based in Soho, diagnoses more cases of HIV than any other clinic in the UK and accounts for one in nine diagnoses in the UK.
The reduction was credited to engagement with high risk groups and efforts to reduce the number of people who are unknowingly living with HIV.