LOCAL MEDICAL PRACTICES RECORDS HACKED IN CYBER ATTACK
Written by John Grant on October 10, 2022
According to the NZ Herald, sensitive patient files and high-level data have been stolen from Pinnacle Midlands Health Network (Pinnacle) who operate several Thames Coromandel GP practices around including Medical Centres in Thames, Coromandel, Whitianga, Tairua and Whangamata, as well as other centres throughout the North Island.
The information in the breach includes high-level data related to the use of hospital services, claiming information related to services that Pinnacle provides, and information sent to practices around immunisation and screening status of individual patients.
The initial cyber incident took place on Wednesday 28 September 2022 through an IT platform that Pinnacle is a customer of, and the affected IT was immediately taken offline and contained.
Justin Butcher, CEO of Pinnacle Incorporated says that while investigations are still underway, much of the information and data that was stolen last week has been made public.
“We acknowledge that this will be concerning to our patients and their families, and we are taking this seriously. Our immediate focus is on supporting people who may have been impacted and working with the authorities to ensure we are doing everything we need to be.
“Due to the scale of the data that has been released, we are providing a general update now, and intend to provide further public notifications over the coming days.
“While Pinnacle does not hold GP notes and consultation records, we now have a much clearer understanding of the breadth of stolen data. This includes high level data related to the use of hospital services, claiming information related to services that Pinnacle provides, and information sent to practices around immunisation and screening status of individual patients.
“This is extremely unfortunate, and we are gutted as this impacts our whānau also. Cyber incidents like this are a constant threat, and while they are the doing of malicious actors, we feel for everyone who may have been affected.
“We are in contact with the Police and Office of the Privacy Commissioner”.
A freephone support line that was set up by Pinnacle through IDCare is available from Monday to Friday on 0800 121 068 for people wanting further information.
All affected practices are still providing services, and people can continue to seek care as normal. However, as notified previously, patients may experience some delays when contacting practices. So, if you are needing care, please call your doctor, or medical centre as you normally would.