A software program outage affecting some NHS companies throughout the UK was attributable to a cyber-attack, it has been confirmed.
Advanced, a agency that gives digital companies for NHS 111, stated the assault occurred at 07:00 BST on Thursday.
The assault affected the telephone service and digital referrals to out-of-hours GPs, however the NHS stated disruption was minimal.
The National Crime Agency stated it was “aware of a cyber incident” and was working with Advanced.
“A security issue was identified yesterday, which resulted in loss of service,” stated Advanced boss Simon Short.
“We can confirm that the incident is related to a cyber-attack and as a precaution, we immediately isolated all our health and care environments.
“Early intervention from our Incident Response Team contained this problem to a small variety of servers representing 2% of our Health & Care infrastructure.”
Family doctors in London were warned by NHS England they could see an increased number of patients sent to them by NHS 111 due to the “important technical problem”, business journal Pulse reported.
It said a letter to GPs in the capital stated the problem was affecting the electronic referral process for patients.
On Friday, the Welsh Ambulance Service reported the outage was “important” and “ongoing”.
“There is a significant outage of a pc system that’s used to refer sufferers from NHS 111 Wales to out-of-hours GP suppliers.
“The ongoing outage is significant and has been far reaching, impacting each of the four nations in the UK.”
An NHS spokesperson stated there was at present minimal disruption and it was monitoring the scenario.
“NHS 111 services are still available for patients who are unwell, but as ever if it is an emergency please call 999,” they stated.
“There is currently minimal disruption and the NHS will continue to monitor the situation as it works with Advanced to resolve their software system as quickly as possible – tried and tested contingency plans are in place for local areas who use this service.”