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Life Healthcare announces cyber incident

The Life Healthcare Group regrets to announce that its southern African operation has been the victim of a targeted criminal attack on its IT systems.

We acted immediately on becoming aware of the incident and took our systems offline, in order to actively contain the attack. The extent to which sensitive data has been compromised is yet to be ascertained, as we are still in the process of investigating. External cyber security experts and forensic teams have been brought on board to advise and supplement our internal teams and capacity. We have alerted the relevant authorities and investigations are underway. 

Patient care has not been impacted and Life Healthcare continues to provide quality healthcare across all of its hospitals and clinics, with patient care continuing to be our foremost priority.

In line with our business continuity plans, our hospitals and administrative offices have switched over to backup manual processing systems and continue to function, albeit and regrettably, with some administrative delays. The security incident has affected admissions systems, business processing systems and email servers. We immediately took these offline as a precautionary measure to contain the attack, conduct our investigations, and where necessary commence remediation.

We apologise for any frustration, delay, or distress this criminal act has caused to our patients, doctors, employees, funders and other stakeholders. We thank them for their understanding, support and patience as we resolve this matter.

Pieter Van der Westhuizen Acting Group CEO said: “First, and foremost, we wish to assure all the communities within which we operate, that this criminal attack on our systems will not affect the quality care and clinical excellence we aim to provide. Patient care remains our key priority.  We are deeply disappointed and saddened that criminals would attack our facilities during such a time, when we are all working tirelessly and collectively to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we will not be distracted, and will continue to place our patients first. We regret that the disruption caused by this criminal act may cause our patients some frustration, in what is already a trying time. We recognise and thank our employees, doctors and service providers for their dedication, and the professionalism they have shown by quickly adopting our manual backup systems. Our investigations continue and we are working around-the-clock to restore the affected systems.”

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