UPDATE: Despite Cyber Attack, Most Services Unaffected

 

Bairnsdale Regional Health Service was one of a number of regional hospitals in Victoria impacted by a cyber security incident this week.

Anyone with an appointment at BRHS over the coming week is asked to please phone ahead as early as you can to check the status of your appointment.

This is especially important for those with Dental and Community Health appointments at the Ross Street Campus. Those patients should call 5152 0222 to confirm or reschedule your appointment.

Victoria Police and the Australian Cyber Security Centre have confirmed that the cyber attack is an incident involving ransomware, where the perpetrators disable an organisation’s IT system with a virus, and demand a ransom to reactivate the system.

Although the attack caused a significant disruption to internal operations at BRHS, services to patients continued with minimum disruption.

Technology issues were reported Monday evening and by Tuesday morning the full extent of the attack was understood and BRHS staff were executing the Business Contingency Plan in place for such an event.

In situations such as this staff revert to manual paper-based systems to maintain services.

The security of patient and staff information has not been compromised, nor had the BRHS payroll system been hacked, as was earlier reported by some media outlets.

Local people that are ill or injured should continue to turn to BRHS as they usually would for medical assistance.

BRHS CEO Robyn Hayles said that while it is largely business as usual for patients and visitors, with paper-based recording replacing internal IT systems for the moment there may be some delay to services.

The community is asked to keep an eye on the BRHS facebook page www.facebook.com/YourBRHS and the BRHS news page at www.brhs.com.au/news for the latest information on services.

“The understanding of patients, visitors and community during this time is appreciated,” she said.

Looking ahead, it is not anticipated that surgeries or clinical services will be affected.

The community is asked to keep an eye on the BRHS facebook page www.facebook.com/YourBRHS and the BRHS news page at www.brhs.com.au/news for the latest information on services.

Anyone with an appointment at BRHS over the coming week is asked to please phone ahead as early as you can to check the status of your appointment.

This is especially important for those with Dental and Community Health appointments at the Ross Street Campus, which includes Diabetes Education, Women’s Health Nurses, and Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

Those patients should call 5152 0222 to confirm or reschedule your appointment.

Ms Hayles said she was proud of the response of the BRHS team to the incident, and thankful for the patience and understanding of the community.

If you need to contact a staff member or department, visit www.brhs.com.au/health-services to find the relevant contact phone number.

“Our staff have been working extremely hard to minimise the impact of this incident on people in the community, and to make sure we’re able to keep providing top quality health care,” Ms Hayles said. “We’re working closely with the Gippsland Health Alliance, other hospitals in the region, the Dept. of Health and Human Services and the Victorian Cyber Incident Response Service to get all our systems up and running again as soon as it is safe to do so. We will be sure to keep the community up-to-date as things progress.”

“We’re being very well supported by DHHS and all levels of government to help us manage this complex situation.”

Staff at BRHS do not have access to their work email, so members of the community needing to contact staff are asked to call. The BRHS phone system is working as normal. If you need to contact a staff member or department, visit www.brhs.com.au/health-services/ to find the relevant contact phone number.

The incident has impacted on shared IT systems between hospitals within the Gippsland Health Alliance (GHA) and South West Rural Health Alliance (SWARH), which also includes hospitals in Warrnambool, Colac, Geelong, Warragul and Sale, as well as a host of services in smaller towns.

The affected hospitals have isolated and disconnected a number of external systems to quarantine the infection.

Since launching July 2018 the Victorian Government Cyber Incident Response Service has responded to more than 600 cyber-attacks on Victorian Government organisations.

Media enquiries:
Jake Lynch
BRHS Media and Communications Coordinator
0427 688 414