Cyber attack

The information technology systems at a number of hospitals and health services in Gippsland and south-west Victoria have been impacted by a cyber security incident.

The cyber incident, which was uncovered on Monday September 30, blocked access to several systems by the infiltration of ransomware, including financial management. Emergency surgery and emergency departments were not compromised in the incident.

Hospitals isolated and disconnected a number of systems such as the internet to quarantine the infection. The Victorian Cyber Incident Response Service was deployed and worked with impacted health services overnight to respond to the attack.

Following the cyber attack, hospitals and health services implemented several measures to isolate the threat and support patients that have been impacted. Services affected include a small number of clinical services, including outpatient appointments and elective surgery.

The hospitals affected are those that are part of the Gippsland Health Alliance and the South West Alliance of Rural Health. Barwon Health has had to suspend some clinical services, most outpatient appointments and most elective surgeries that were planned for the following days.

Victorian Minister for Health, Jenny Mikakos, said the Victorian Government’s priority is working with state and federal experts to get the hospitals back online as quickly as possible, so patients can get the treatment they need.

“I want to thank patients for their understanding as we work to resolve this incident, and our hard-working nurses, doctors and other hospital staff for their efforts to manage the issue,” Ms Mikakos said.

“The Government continues to invest to keep our hospital networks as safe as possible – this includes $13 million in this year’s Victorian Budget for the latest digital infrastructure and cyber security.

“A full review will take place to address what has occurred, and identify what additional measures may be required to ensure hospitals have the best protection against cyber security incidents.”

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