London Ambulance Service Suffers Downtime

London Ambulance Service Suffers Downtime

By Sarah Roberts

New Year’s Eve is a trying night for the Emergency Services, and the demand in London is high. Last year, almost 2000 people required urgent treatment from the London Ambulance Service (LAS). According to the BBC, it is the most demanded ambulance service in the UK; each year it responds to more than 1.9 million calls a year from 70 ambulance stations and support centers.

Unfortunately, the dedicated staff faced an extra challenge on the busiest night of 2016. Systems failed at 12:30 AM due to a technical ‘issue’ in the control room, forcing calls to be recorded by hand. No further information about the fault was given.

The shutdown also meant crews had to rely on radio communications instead of real-time web mapping, and input locations manually. Their usual technology wasn’t back online until 5:15 AM.

The LAS team receive training for incidents such as this, but no call figures have been release, so it’s not known how much impact this downtime had.

Malcolm Alexander of the Patients' Forum for the LAS told the BBC, "we want to know why it is that this system that cost so much money and is supposed to be so effective is not fail-safe." He added, "we really need to make sure it doesn't collapse again."

Unfortunately, the NHS is one of the more vulnerable institutions in the UK thanks to aging hardware and malicious targeting from Ransomware Criminals.

In France, ambulance provider Jussieu Secours - who are responsible for a largely rural region with 10 local stations - also encountered some dangerous system failures. Centralized servers managed essential and time-critical activities like scheduled medical transports, transport of emergency victims, geolocation of vehicles and personnel, and any downtime would keep staff in the dark.

Jussieu Secours engaged a Managed Service Provider, Acadir, to ensure a high level of business continuity whilst still preserving  confidentiality of their medical data.

“The company experienced repeated hardware failures, which would paralyzing for the Franche-Comté region,” said Francis Thiebaud, Acadir’s Founder and President. “So we proposed and implemented a Datto SIRIS Solution. This protects data and guarantees that in the event of a failure, regardless of the cause, they are able to get their systems back up and running in just a few minutes.”

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