NHS staff in Cornwall are now among those reported to be affected by a cyber attack on the national NHS 111 service.

People seeking medical help nationally have been warned of possible delays due to a “major” computer system outage, although there are contingency plans in place.

PA is reporting that the issue is affecting the system used to refer patients for care, including out-of-hours appointment bookings and emergency prescriptions.

The Packet has been told that locally some staff are finding themselves unable to book patients in or print prescriptions.

It has now been confirmed that Cornwall's NHS has been affected by the national IT issues, but the Packet has been told the impact is "minimal" and people are still being encouraged to call 111, or use 111.nhs.uk if they need help for a health condition that cannot wait until their GP surgery reopens, or cannot be treated by a community pharmacist or a minor injury unit. 

An NHS spokesperson for Cornwall said: “NHS 111 services are still available for patients who are unwell, but as ever if it is an emergency please call 999.

“There is currently minimal disruption and the NHS will continue to monitor the situation as it works with Advanced to resolve their software system as quickly as possible – tried and tested contingency plans are in place for local areas who use this service.”

The “security issue” was identified at about 7am on Thursday, software and services provider Advanced said, and indicated it might not be fully resolved until next week.

Speaking to the BBC, the NHS has described the disruption as "minimal."

The National Crime Agency said it was "aware of a cyber incident" and was working with Advanced.

The Welsh Ambulance Service described the outage as “significant”, “major” and “far reaching” and said it was affecting all four nations of the UK.

An NHS England spokeswoman told PA last night that NHS 111 services are still available and that there is “currently minimal disruption”.

They added that “tried and tested contingency plans are in place for local areas who use this service.”

Simon Short, chief operating officer at Advanced, confirmed the incident was related to a cyber attack and said it had taken action which contained the attack, adding that “no further issues have been detected”.

He said: “Early intervention from our incident response team contained this issue to a small number of servers representing 2% of our health and care infrastructure. The protection of services and data is paramount in the actions we have and are taking.

“We continue to work with the NHS and health and care bodies as well as our technology and security partners, focused on recovery of all systems over the weekend and during the early part of next week.

“In the meantime those NHS impacted services will continue to operate [using contingency].”