London hospitals struck by cyber attack launch blood donor appeal

The fallout from last week's cyber attack is still causing a crisis in London's NHS, ITV News Correspondent Amelia Beckett reports

People with O-type blood across the UK have been urged to book appointments to donate, after a group of London hospitals were targeted by a ransomware attack.

NHS Blood and Transplant is appealing for O-positive and O-negative donors to come forward as the hospitals impacted in Tuesday's attack cannot currently match patients’ blood at the same frequency as usual.

Several London hospitals declared a critical incident on June 4, including King’s College Hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’ (including the Royal Brompton and the Evelina London Children’s Hospital) and primary care services.

They were left unable to carry out operations and blood transfusions after pathology firm Synnovis was believed to have been targeted by Qilin, a Russian hacking group.

Hospitals need stocks of O-type blood because it is safe for all patients to use and has a shelf-life of 35 days so needs to be continually replenished, the NHS said.

O-negative is known as the "universal blood type", as it can be given to anyone. It is used in emergencies or when a patient's blood type is unknown. It is carried by just 8% of the population.

King's College hospital was one of those impacted. Credit: PA

Dr Gail Miflin, chief medical officer, NHS Blood and Transplant, said London hospitals need more O Negative and O Positive donors than usual "to carry out more surgeries and to provide the best care we can for all patients".

“Please book an urgent appointment to give blood at one of our 25 town and city donor centres which currently have good appointment availability.

“We have availability for donors who know they are type O but we also welcome new donors who don’t yet know their blood type.

“You might have one of these special types that can be used in emergencies.”

Following the bank holidays and school half-term holidays, the NHS currently has lower than normal stocks of type O blood.

Donor centres can be found in towns and cities across the country including London, Bristol, Birmingham, Cambridge, Nottingham, Manchester and Newcastle.

Information on how to sign up to donate can be found here.

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