NHS Dumfries & Galloway CEO updates local citizens on cyber attack published data

NHS Dumfries & Galloway chief executive Julie White has shared an update with every citizen in Dumfries and Galloway on the cyber attack earlier this year, stating to residents to “assume that some data relating to you is likely to have been copied and published”.

The letter adds that “the criminals were able to access and copy large amounts of patient and staff-identifiable data” and “when their  demands weren’t met, they published the stolen files onto the internet on May 6 2024”.

Whilst the organisation shares that the millions of pieces of data involved are “generally very small, individual files” like x-rays and test results, the update recommends that people in the Dumfries & Galloway region assume that some of their data has been stolen and published, and remain on guard for potential attempts to access their computer systems, or for approaches from people claiming to hold their data.

When looking at the possible risks involved, the update highlights identity theft as something to be cautious of, stating that this is a concern “more for NHS staff than patients, because of the sort of information gathered from staff during the recruitment process”.

Alongside the main update is a guide, letting people know what to do if they feel they have been affected by the cyber attack, and providing contact details they can call for support. It offers reassurance that the organisation is working closely with national agencies including Police Scotland, the National Crime Agency, and the National Cyber Security Centre to take direction on its response.

A Police Scotland spokesperson is cited as stating that “members of the public should not attempt to access or share any leaked data as you may be committing an offence under the Data Protection Act”.

To read the update in full, please click here.

Hospitals in London recently declared a critical incident following a cyber attack (Monday 3 June) which made a significant impact on the delivery of services at Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital NHS and primary care services in South East London.

And in other news from Scotland, following the publication of Scotland’s digital strategy in 2021, a report has been released summarising progress made around commitments such as improving connectivity, building digital skills and changing the culture of public service organisations to ensure resilience, accessibility and ease of use.