PEOPLE have been warned to expect some disruption to GP services today (Monday) as IT and clinical systems are brought back online following the cyber attack which took place on Friday (May 12).

The 'ransonware' attack affected NHS trusts across the Uk, and also targeted organisations outside the UK.

A spokesperson for St Helens Clinical Commissioning Group said all GP practices are open as usual, but some may not yet have full access to patient records, prescriptions, appointment systems and, in some cases, telephone systems.

He added it is likely that some practices will only be able to offer urgent appointments today and tomorrow (Tuesday).

The NHS is asking patients to continue to use the NHS wisely and remember that they can seek help and advice from a range of other sources, such as pharmacies or 111.

People are advised to:

• People who have GP appointments should turn up as normal unless they are contacted directly and told not to. Please do not ring your surgery to check as they will be extremely busy.

• Think carefully if you need to book a GP appointment or if you could seek advice and treatment elsewhere, for example your pharmacy or 111.

• Please bear in mind that practices may be running more slowly than usual if they are unable to access some of their systems and the public are asked to be patient with staff.

• All phone lines for GP practices are working normally, but the electronic call queuing systems used by some larger practices may be affected. In this instance, practice phone lines will still work and patients will be able to ring their practice on the usual number, but they may experience some delays in getting through. If this happens, people are asked to keep trying to get through and we thank them for their patience and understanding while NHS It technicians work to resolve the problem.

The NHS spokesman added: "Other NHS services are running effective business continuity plans to ensure safe patient care at all times.

"Hospitals have continued to treat patients throughout the weekend and are working hard to return to normal services. However, they are still likely to be very busy, so please only use Accident and Emergency services and 999 when there is a genuine emergency."

Those attending planned hospital appointments should attend as usual unless they are directly advised otherwise.