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THE security services are probing a cyber attack that ‘crippled’  NHS 111.

It’s feared a hostile foreign power could have targeted the system, leaving patients struggling to get urgent appointments and ambulances.

2NHS staff have warned patients to expect delays with services due to the cyber attackCredit: Getty

Staff have been reduced to using pen and paper and have told patients to expect delays with services such as dispatching ambulances, booking patients out-of-hours urgent appointments, and fulfilling emergency prescriptions.

The firm behind the system, Advanced, confirmed a number of its systems had crashed as a result of a cyber attack.

An NHS spokesman said patients are still encouraged to call 111 and they will be able to get through to staff.

GPS have been told to “manage calls where possible” and not direct patients to the service, but there is no ETA for when the problem will be fixed.

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The National Cyber Security Centre said it was working with Advanced to investigate the cause of the breakdown.

It comes after the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, consisting of Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US, warned of the risk of state-sponsored cyber attacks co-ordinated from Moscow targeting critical organisations including the NHS, nuclear power stations and parts of the Civil Service.

There was said to be intelligence suggesting hackers within the Russian government were seeking to engage in “malicious cyber activity” in response to the “unprecedented economic sanctions” imposed on Moscow over the Ukraine war.

All NHS trusts were warned in March to shore up their cyber security systems and ensure they had backups in place.

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Simon Short, chief operating officer of Advanced, said: “A security issue was identified yesterday, which resulted in loss of service on infrastructure hosting products used by our health and care customers.

“We can confirm that the incident is related to a cyber attack and as a precaution, we immediately isolated all our health and care environments.

“This occurred at approximately 7am on August 4, 2022. We can also confirm that this action contained the attack and no further issues have been detected.”

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An NHS spokesman said: “NHS 111 services are still available for patients who are unwell, but as ever if it is an emergency please call 999.

“There is currently minimal disruption and the NHS will continue to monitor the situation as it works with Advanced to resolve their software system as quickly as possible – tried and tested contingency plans are in place for local areas who use this service.”

2The NHS 111 service has been 'crippled' in the attack which is being investigated by the National Cyber Security Centre (file photo)Credit: Alamy

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Ashleigh Buhai takes 5-shot lead at Womens British Open

MUIRFIELD, Scotland (AP) — Ashleigh Buhai surged into a five-shot lead at the Women’s British Open after shooting a 7-under 64 in the third round on Saturday.

Now she just has to find a way to finish off for her first major victory.

The South African also led this tournament in 2019 at Woburn after the second round but finished fifth, her best result at a major.

Buhai is in a much stronger position at Muirfield after a round that included eight birdies before a lone bogey on the last hole, giving her a 14-under total of 199.

Five of those birdies came on the first seven holes but perhaps the most impressive was on the par-5 17th, when she chipped in from off the green after hitting her tee shot into the rough.

It was the best round of the week despite the wind picking up to blow stronger gusts than during the first two days.

“To be able to shoot that score in those conditions, you have to be able to pat yourself on the back, so much so that I thought I was 6 under, not 7,” Buhai said. “So, I was 8 under playing the last, which I think I have to look back, is probably one of the best rounds of golf I’ve ever played.”

Hinako Shibuno of Japan (66) and second-round leader In Gee Chun of South Korea (70) were tied for second. Seven-time major winner Inbee Park and Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden were another two shots back.

Buhai has three victories on the European Tour but has never won an LPGA Tour event. But she’s never had a five-shot lead going into the final round, either.

She’s doing her best not to look too far ahead, though.

“I’m most proud of the way I just stayed focused and calm (today). That’s all I try to control. I wasn’t thinking of the outcome,” Buhai said. “I only saw a leaderboard for the first time I think when I was on 12, no, 13. And then I just said to myself, ‘OK, that’s fine, you’re in a good spot. Check back in with yourself now and concentrate on what you’re trying to do.’”

___

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