(Bloomberg) -- A major cyber attack is delaying response times on the NHS 111 telephone service in the UK that’s used for medical emergencies, the Telegraph reported.

The target of the breach was Advanced, which is owned by private equity companies. It supplies software for about 85% of the hotline’s services, according to the paper. The hackers were part of an organized criminal ground, according to an updated version of the report.

The company’s Adastra system allows call handlers to dispatch ambulances, book urgent appointments or fulfil emergency prescriptions. 

Cases in need of an ambulance are being prioritized, the paper cited a source from the National Health Service as saying. The systems could remain offline until Aug. 9.

Simon Short, chief operating officer of Advanced, said a security issue was identified on Aug. 4 and as a precaution the health and care systems were immediately isolated. The company’s services also extend to care homes and a patient record management system. 

Advanced is owned by Vista Equity Partners and BC Partners.


(Adds in second paragraph that criminal group was probably responsible.)

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