No one outside the NHS can now send emails to any NHS hospitals and surgeries in Wales – including Penarth’s Llandough Hospital and GP practices in Penarth.
The NHS across the whole of Wales is now blocking the receipt of emails from any source other than internal official NHS senders.
The action has been taken following last week’s internet attack on the NHS in England when a cyber criminals dispatched so-called “WannaCry” malware into hospital IT systems which is designed to freeze essential files unless a ransom is paid in untraceable “Bitcoins” for a code to unlock them.
Computer experts advised NHS chiefs – and anyone else hit by “WannaCry” – NOT to pay up – as there’s no evidence that, once a ransom is paid, the crooks bother making any further contact with the victims and don’t send them codes to unscramble their locked files.
On Friday the NHS in Wales had said it had not been affected by the malware attack – but over the weekend the organisation has changed its stance and now says “Due to the NHS England cyber attack, we have blocked all inbound emails (external senders and NHS England) to NHS Wales.”
The move means that although NHS staff in Wales can send out emails to NHS staff in England, they can’t receive emailed replies.
NHS Wales says “Blocked emails will be dropped and deleted. Client services supported file shares have also been disabled until Monday as a precaution”. The position is to be reviewed tomorrow (Monday May 15 2017)
Much of the software in the NHS in Wales is out of date but systems in GP practices are now in the process of being upgraded – a “cluster ” at a time – to Microsoft Office 2016.
The NHS Wales Informatics Service has also introduced what it describes as “a secure National Directory and Email service” – known as NADEX – which replaced a “previously fragmented approach to logon security and email management”.
The NADEX system allows users to log-on to systems and services regardless of where they access a computer. The National E Mail service provides “a single up-to-date address book and allows health professionals to share diaries with colleagues across organisations within NHS Wales.” It also provides an email address “for life” for as long as staff remain within NHS Wales @wales.nhs.uk