IT Systems Outage Update

On October 2021, a cyber incident impacted critical IT systems supporting health-care providers across Newfoundland and Labrador. The investigation into the cyberattack determined that some of Western Health’s patients’ personal health information that was collected at Western Health for bloodwork and specimens and then sent to Eastern Health provincial lab for testing was involved in the breach. This includes information related to bloodwork and specimens collected by Western Health, or private clinics in the region, which were transferred to Eastern Health for processing. Because this bloodwork and specimens are registered in Eastern Health for processing, some patient information from the Western Health region was involved. The information dates back over approximately the past 11 years. The information which was breached does not include test results.

All COVID-19 tests completed by Western Health are processed at Eastern Health. The registration information collected for these tests are also impacted, however, the information which was taken does not include test results.

Some of the patient information involved is the type of information that is typically logged for a patient visit, such as name, address, health care number (MCP), reason for visit, their doctor, phone number, and birth date, email address for notifications, in patient/out-patient, maiden name, and marital status.

Patients in the Western Health region who believe or have concerns that they may have been impacted, based on the timeframes and information provided, are able to avail of free credit monitoring service. In addition, current and former employees, physicians and locums of Eastern Health, Central Health and Labrador Grenfell Health are being offered access to credit monitoring and identity theft protection services through Equifax Canada, at no cost to them. Additional information is available here.

Equifax Canada has established a website for individuals to enroll in these credit monitoring and identity theft protection services and receive an activation code by email before the December 2022 deadline. Please click the link below to access this website. Please note that this service is only available to residents of Newfoundland and Labrador. If individuals are not residents of Newfoundland and Labrador and have been affected, are advised to call the provincial toll-free information line at 1-833-718-3021. As well, individuals who are residents of Newfoundland and Labrador may also call the provincial toll-free information line at 1-833-718-3021 to obtain an activation code if they are unable to access the Equifax Canada website. Please note that by clicking this link, you will be redirected to an Equifax website. 

There is currently no evidence that patients who received services Western Health have had their social insurance numbers breached. In addition, there is still no evidence that employee or patient information from Western Health information systems was breached.

This situation may cause stress and challenges for residents in the region. If you are concerned about yourself or someone else, visit Doorways for quick access to mental health and addictions counselling services. You may also visit Bridgethegapp.ca to find other local supports and link to online resources. The Mental Health 24 Hour Crisis Line is also available by calling 1-888-737-4668. Please reach out for support if you need it.