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'Really upsetting' Terminally ill teacher says there was 'a lot of tears' after appointment cancelled due to cyber-attack

Eimear Cregg, who has stage four breast cancer, said the one thing she can control in her life is how she structures her days, so the news today that her appointment was cancelled was very disappointing

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Eimear Cregg

Eimear Cregg

Eimear Cregg

Cancer sufferer Eimear Cregg said “there was a lot of tears” this morning after her cancer appointment was cancelled due to the HSE IT ransom cyber-attack.

The primary school teacher, who has stage four breast cancer, said the one thing she can control in her life is how she structures her days, so the news today that her appointment was cancelled was very disappointing.

"It was really upsetting, I had myself geared up and there was a lot of tears when I heard it was cancelled because you’re just so focused on getting through, getting through another milestone,” she said on RTÉ Radio 1’s Drivetime.

"Whenever I’m going into hospital, I want to hopefully be here for as long as possible so I focus on my appointments…you have to be strong all the time when you’re living with cancer.

“Because you don’t have control over which way your cancer is going to work, I suppose you can control how you handle yourself and do your best job of getting through it.”

Ms Cregg said she hopes the issue is resolved quickly as “every day is hard” when living with cancer.

HSE Chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry said it’ll likely be a number of days before the IT system is back up and running.

“The advice we are getting from experts is that given how serious this is it’s going to take a number of days before we can safely begin to reopen those IT systems on which our health care services rely,” he said.

Dr Henry added that critical cancer care is still continuing “by necessity” but most appointments have had to be cancelled due to health care staff having no access to patient records.

“The problem we have is accessing previous results because that relies on the IT system, pathology results, radiology results or even previous imaging,” he said.

"In many cases we cancelled appointments or procedures because the access to previous results and imaging hasn’t been there for the radiologists.

“Of course any cancer appointments will be rescheduled the moment this problem is resolved.

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“At this point the appointments have been cancelled because we can't do them in a safe or appropriate manner without accessing previous results and imaging.”

Ms Cregg, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer during the pandemic, said she is “doing okay” but having her hospital appointment cancelled really knocked her.

"I’m still quite well in myself so I focus on getting through but you’re always hoping on getting stable results, knocks come along the way,” she said.

“You can’t plan too far in advance because you could get a phone call one day which completely changes the course of things.

"But when I have a hospital appointment I plan around that so having a change or being bumped out by a time kind of throws me because It’s the only bit of control I have being able to plan my day.”

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