15 Jun 2021

Waikato DHB still affected by cyber attack

3:27 pm on 15 June 2021

Waikato district health board's IT systems are still not operating at full capacity, four weeks after they were hit by a cyber attack.

Waikato Hospital

Waikato Hospital. Photo: RNZ / Simon Rogers

The ransomware attack brought the DHB's hospitals and services to a grinding halt and staff have had to resort to manual workarounds to continue caring for patients.

Some people needing specialist treatment have had to travel to other DHBs.

Chief executive Kevin Snee said good progress has been made to restore clinical services and doctors can now access patients' full medical information, and record and track them as they move through hospitals.

Laboratory diagnostics and radiology services are also back up and running.

"These are crucial services for our patients - and key milestones in the DHB's recovery," Snee said.

"With these back up and running, our hospitals have been able to take a big step forward, but there is still a long road ahead."

Radiation therapy services resumed last week and should be operating at near-normal capacity next week.

But staff are still relying on manual processes in a number of areas, which means all activities require additional time.

Snee said work is underway to assess the backlog of patients who have had their outpatient appointments and other services cancelled because of the cyber attack.

At this stage, he said there was no indication about how long it might take to clear.

The DHB was looking at staffing and how it might be able to bolster numbers as it enters the busy winter period and tries to re-book appointments for patients who had to be put off.

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