A recent cyber attack on London hospitals, including Guys and St Thomas [4] [10] [12], by the Russian cyber gang Qilin has caused significant challenges for several major hospitals. Pathology services have been disrupted, leading to the cancellation of emergency operations and a shortage of blood donations [10], particularly O blood types [10].


Several major hospitals [1] [4] [10] [11], such as Kings College Hospital [2] [5] [12], Royal Brompton [1] [2] [7] [11] [12], and Evelina London Childrens Hospital [1] [7] [11], are facing challenges following the cyber attack [10]. Pathology services are operating at reduced capacity [5], with urgent cases being prioritized and non-urgent operations and procedures [5], including transplants [5], being postponed [5] [9] [11] [12]. Transplant patients are being assessed on a case-by-case basis to manage risks to patient safety [5]. The cyber criminals Qilin are believed to be behind the attack [7], causing chaos and impacting blood transfusions [7]. NHS Blood and Transplant urgently needs O-Positive and O-Negative donors to replenish stocks [3] [4] [7], especially after low supplies following recent holidays [7]. O-Negative is the universal donor type [4] [7], while O-Positive is the most common and can be given to anyone with a positive blood type [7]. Hospitals are calling for volunteers [10], including medical students [10], to help with patient care [10]. NHS England is working to minimize disruption to patients and prioritize pathology services for urgent cases [7]. Patients are advised to access services through NHS 111 or dial 999 in emergencies [7]. Blood stocks are low and need to be continually restocked [10], lasting only 35 days [10]. NHS Blood and Transplant is urging O-Positive and O-Negative donors to book appointments to replenish stocks [4] [9] [11], especially as blood has a limited shelf life [4]. An appeal has been launched for O blood-type donors to book appointments across the country following the ransomware attack affecting major London hospitals [9] [11]. The IT attack means the affected hospitals cannot currently match patients blood at the same frequency as usual [11]. Several London hospitals declared a critical incident [1] [11], cancelled operations and tests [8] [11], and were unable to carry out blood transfusions last week after the attack on the pathology firm Synnovis [11], which Qilin [11], a Russian group of cyber criminals [11], is understood to have been behind [11]. NHS Blood and Transplant is calling for O positive and O negative blood donors to book appointments in one of the 25 NHS Blood Donor Centres in England [9] [11]. Hospitals need to use O- type blood for surgeries and procedures requiring blood to take place [11], as it is safe to use for all patients and is used in emergencies or when a patients blood type is unknown [11]. Kings College Hospital [2] [3] [5] [7] [9] [11] [12], Guys and St Thomas (including the Royal Brompton and the Evelina London Childrens Hospital) and primary care services in London declared a critical incident after last weeks IT attack [11]. Prof Stephen Powis [11], medical director for NHS England [11], said staff were going “above and beyond to minimise the significant disruption to patients” and that operations and appointments have been postponed or diverted to other neighbouring hospitals not impacted by the cyber-attack as pathology services are prioritised for the most clinically urgent cases [11]. Guys and St Thomas hospital [8], one of the affected trusts [8], has asked medical students to assist in delivering blood tests while IT systems are down [8]. GP services in several boroughs have also been affected [3]. Hospitals are prioritizing pathology services for urgent cases [3] [7], and O type blood is needed for surgeries and procedures [3]. Russian cybercrime group Qilin is believed to be behind the attack [3] [7], seeking financial gain [3]. NHSBT is calling for O Negative and O Positive donors to support patient care and surgeries in London [3]. Medical students at Guys and St Thomas Trust have been asked to volunteer for 10-12 hour shifts to help with the recovery efforts [2]. Staff are now using paper-based methods for patient care [2], and volunteers are delivering blood tests to support pathology services [2]. The disruption is expected to last for weeks [2], with clinical decisions being made without pathology support [2]. NHS London is working to assess the full extent of the disruption and advises patients to attend appointments unless contacted otherwise [2]. Urgent and emergency services are still available [5] [12], with 999 and NHS 111 operating normally [5]. Patients who have not heard from their healthcare provider should still attend appointments [5]. Health leaders have launched an “urgent” blood drive across the country to help major hospitals affected by a ransomware attack carried out by Russian cyber criminals [1]. The attack has seriously impacted several London hospitals [1], including Kings [1] [7] [9] [12], the Royal Brompton [1] [2] [7] [11] [12], Guys [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12], St Thomas [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12], and Evelina Childrens Hospital [1] [7] [11]. The Qilin gang targeted the pathology firm Synnovis [1], compromising blood testing services at the hospitals [1]. As a result [1] [9], hospitals have declared a critical incident [1] [11], leading to the cancellation of operations and blood tests [1]. NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) has issued an appeal for people with “universal” blood [1], particularly those with type O blood [1], to come forward and donate [1]. More units of these blood types will be needed in the coming weeks to ensure services can continue safely for local patients [1].


The cyber attack on London hospitals by the Russian cyber gang Qilin has had significant impacts on pathology services, leading to the cancellation of operations and a shortage of blood donations [10]. Urgent measures are being taken to replenish blood stocks and prioritize patient care. The disruption is expected to last for weeks [2], with hospitals working to assess the full extent of the damage and minimize further disruptions. It is crucial for O-Positive and O-Negative donors to come forward to support patient care and surgeries in London.


[1] https://inews.co.uk/news/health/nhs-hack-blood-donation-system-how-help-3101439
[2] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/cljj1d2nz00o
[3] https://www.digitalhealth.net/2024/06/nhs-issues-urgent-call-for-o-type-blood-donors-following-london-cyber-attack/
[4] https://uk.news.yahoo.com/nhs-issues-urgent-blood-donation-024400387.html
[5] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2024/06/07/qilin-cyber-attack-russia-nhs-organ-transplants-hospitals/
[6] https://www.computerweekly.com/news/366588554/NHS-blood-stocks-running-low-after-ransomware-attack
[7] https://news.sky.com/story/nhs-issues-urgent-blood-donation-appeal-after-it-cyber-attack-leaves-hospitals-struggling-to-match-patients-13150509
[8] https://www.bmj.com/content/385/bmj.q1277
[9] [https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/c2eeg9gygyno](https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/c2eeg9gygyno).amp
[10] https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/nhs-appeal-blood-volunteers/
[11] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/c2eeg9gygyno
[12] https://londonlovesbusiness.com/nhs-issues-urgent-plea-for-blood-donation-after-cyber-attack/