Internet access delinked across staff computers in public healthcare

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The move, however, is temporary, it added, without saying when it will end.

This measure comes three days after the authorities revealed 1.5 million SingHealth patients had their data stolen in Singapore’s largest cyber attack to date.

The healthcare group – comprising hospitals, national specialty centres and polyclinics – had its Internet access delinked at midnight last Thursday.

The National Healthcare Group (NHG) and National University Health System (NUHS) followed suit on Sunday night.

The MOH statement noted that public healthcare institutions, including polyclinics and community hospitals, rely on the Internet for various services.

As a result, delinking operations from the Internet could result in a longer wait for consultations and test results, as well as delays in checking Medisave accounts or making claims.

Notices were put up at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital to inform patients that credit card and Nets payments would not be available there, as well as at Yishun Community Hospital and Admiralty Medical Centre. All three are under NHG.

Mr Ho Khai Leng, NHG’s group chief information officer, said clinical and critical systems are on secured corporate networks, meaning patient care will not be affected.

Meanwhile, he said, staff who need to use the Internet for work have been issued standalone laptops, which are not connected to the corporate network.

The Straits Times spoke to patients at some SingHealth institutions, all of whom said they did not notice unusual delays.