Major NHS hospitals in London, UK, are facing disruptions after a ransomware attack targeted Synnovis, a provider of pathology and diagnostic services.

This cyberattack has led to the cancellation and diversion of some medical procedures.

Synnovis’ IT systems have been compromised, causing interruptions to many of its services.

A key provider of pathology and diagnostic services, Synnovis is a joint venture between SYNLAB UK & Ireland, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

The cyberattack’s immediate effects were felt by patients relying on NHS services at the two partner hospitals and GP services across six London boroughs of Bexley, Greenwich, Lewisham, Bromley, Southwark and Lambeth.

Synnovis CEO Mark Dollar stated: “We are trying to understand exactly what has happened.”

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He also mentioned that a dedicated taskforce comprising IT specialists from Synnovis and the NHS is evaluating the impact and the actions required.

“The incident is being reported to law enforcement and the Information Commissioner, and we are working with the National Cyber Security Centre and the Cyber Operations Team,” added Dollar.

An NHS England London region spokesperson commented on the situation, saying, “This is having a significant impact on the delivery of services at Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trusts and primary care services in southeast London and we apologise for the inconvenience this is causing to patients and their families.”

The spokesperson assured that emergency care remains available and urged patients to dial 999 in emergencies or use 111 for other services, advising them to keep their appointments unless informed otherwise.

This incident comes as the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, an agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), introduced a programme aimed at protecting hospitals from cyber threats. The plan is to develop a software suite to identify and address vulnerabilities in hospital digital systems and provide fast fixes.

The launch was a response to recent cyber incidents, including a ransomware attack on Change Healthcare, owned by UnitedHealth, and a cyberattack on US healthcare network Ascension that disrupted its operations.