Guernsey Press

Nationwide blood drive launched to help hospitals at centre of cyber attack

Hospitals declared a critical incident as they were forced to cancel operations and blood tests.


Health leaders have launched an “urgent” blood drive across the country to help major hospitals at the centre of a cyber attack.

Russian cyber criminals are behind the ransomware attack which has seriously affected several London hospitals including King’s, the Royal Brompton, Guys’, St Thomas’ and Evelina Children’s Hospital.

Blood testing services at the hospitals have been compromised after the Qilin gang targeted the pathology firm Synnovis.

The affected hospitals cannot currently match patients’ blood at the same frequency as usual, NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) said.

And as a result it has launched an “urgent” appeal across England for people with “universal” blood to come forward and donate.

People with type O blood are being urged to come forward as their blood is safe to use for the majority of patients.

More units of these types of blood than usual will be required “over the coming weeks” to keep services running safely for local patients, NHSBT said.

There are about 13,000 blood donation appointments available across England this week in NHS Blood Donor Centres with 3,400 available in London.

Dr Gail Miflin, chief medical officer, NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “To support London hospitals to carry out more surgeries and to provide the best care we can for all patients, we need more O negative and O positive donors than usual.

“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.”

She also told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that without usual IT systems in place to match blood types it is “slower and more manual”, adding: “Therefore it would be easier and safer to give blood that we know that will be a suitable blood, and that’s why we go for group O.

“O negative blood is seen in about 8% of the population and can be given to almost anyone, and O positive is seen in 35% of the population and can be given to three quarters of the population. We know these blood groups can help us respond to the incidents in London.”

Professor Dee Thiruchelvam, chief nursing officer at NHS Blood and Transplant, told Sky News: “Last week, there was a cyber attack and some of the hospitals are asking for an extra quantity of blood during this period.

“Now, the reason for that is they’re having to do manual matching of blood types from donors to patients, and that takes much longer.

“And we predict that we are going to have an increased request of blood up until the end of July.

“So we’re going to plan to have more donations coming through to make sure we have enough blood to be able to support the NHS.”

Professor Stephen Powis, medical director for NHS England, said: “Unfortunately, we know that a number of operations and appointments have been postponed or diverted to other neighbouring hospitals not impacted by the cyber attack, as we prioritise pathology services for the most clinically urgent cases.

“To help London staff support and treat more patients, they need access to O negative and O positive blood, so if one of these is your blood type, please come forward to one of the 13,000 appointments currently available in NHS Blood Donor Centres.”

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

It is urging donors to come forward and make an appointment in town and city donor centres across the country including London, Bristol, Birmingham, Cambridge, Nottingham, Manchester and Newcastle.

Officials will not be asking donors to come forward more regularly – men can donate once in every three months and women can only donate once in every four months.

For more information search GiveBlood online and on social media or visit

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