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13 May 2017
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Irish family doctors warned of "real threat" to their practice computer systems from new worldwide virus

Family doctors have been warned not to open their practice computers on Monday until they are certain their anti-virus security systems are up to date.

The warning came at the AGM of the Irish College of General Practitioners in Wexford, following the major cyber attack on the NHS and other networks around the world. The ransomware has locked out computers in the NHS in the UK, and demands payment of a ransom for the files on the computer to be released.

Dr Brian O'Mahony, the Project Manager of the GPIT Group with the ICGP, who is an expert in health informatics, said: "Every GP needs to ensure that their IT systems are up to date, as this is a relatively new virus, which can infect their IT systems via email. I strongly advise doctors not to open their emails on Monday until they are certain their computers have the security patches made available by Windows last March. If those patches have not been uploaded, their systems are vulnerable."

Dr O'Mahony added: " Anyone with a Windows XP computer should not turn it on, as these older computers are not supported by the new security patches."

The expert was speaking at the Annual General Meeting of the Irish College of General Practitioners in White's Hotel in Wexford this morning (Sat 13th May), which was also addressed (2pm) by the HSE's Chief Information Officer Richard Corbridge, on how the latest advances in technology will influence the delivery of primary care.

Around 200 family doctors from around Ireland met in Wexford to discuss the future of primary care , as well as attend workshops on healthcare delivery.

Media queries

Aileen O'Meara, Communications Consultant, ICGP
087 2239830

Dr Brian O'Mahony is available for interview.