A cyber-attack on the health sector in south east London has forced Bromley GP Alliance (BGPA) to cancel all routine blood test appointments until further notice.

On June 3, Synnovis fell victim to a ransomware cyber assault.

Synnovis is a supplier of diverse medical services, including blood tests, swabs, and bowel tests for hospitals and practices serving NHS patients in south east London.

The situation currently affects all pathology services encompassing phlebotomy and cervical screening.

Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trusts, and primary care service users across south east London have been impacted – with some operations and procedures cancelled.

For non-urgent matters, Synnovis has requested that patients hold off on drawing blood until further notice.

The disruption means that all non-urgent blood tests will be cancelled for the time being due to the currently lack of capabilities to process samples and return them.

The BGPA extends its sincere apologies to all patients and expresses ambitions to return to normal operations as swiftly as possible.

The South East London Integrated Care Board (ICB) are working with Synnovis and hospital trusts to assess the severity of the attack's aftermath, and to enact an effective response plan.

Despite the circumstances, emergency care services are still available.

Patients are instructed to access services through traditional channels such as dialling 999 in emergencies, or 111 for non-emergencies.

Patients are urged to stick to existing appointments unless told otherwise.

BGPA has thanked the public for their understanding and assure them that a resolution to this issue is a top priority.

A spokesperson for Bromley GP Alliance said: “We regret to inform patients that all routine Phlebotomy (blood test) appointments have been cancelled until further notice, due to a cyber attack affecting the NHS across south east London.”

According to the PA news agency, a group called Qilin is behind the attack.

A spokesperson for NHS England London region said on Tuesday that Monday’s incident was “having a significant impact” on the delivery of services at Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and primary care services in south-east London.

Memos to NHS staff at King’s College Hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’ (including the Royal Brompton and the Evelina London Children’s Hospital) and primary care services in London said a critical incident had been declared.

Earlier, former chief executive of the National Cyber Security Centre Ciaran Martin said the incident had led to a “severe reduction in capacity” and “it’s a very, very serious incident”.

Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if it is known who attacked Synnovis, Mr Martin said: “Yes. We believe it is a Russian group of cyber criminals who call themselves Qilin.

“These criminal groups – there are quite a few of them – they operate freely from within Russia, they give themselves high-profile names, they’ve got websites on the so-called dark web, and this particular group has about a two-year history of attacking various organisations across the world.

“They’ve done automotive companies, they’ve attacked the Big Issue here in the UK, they’ve attacked Australian courts. They’re simply looking for money.”