Ambo comms system struck by virus

THE NSW Ambulance Service communications system has almost returned to full operation, after being struck by a computer virus over the weekend.

Officers were forced to use notepads and manual systems for more than 24 hours after the computerised system was hit by a virus on Saturday night.

The General Manager of Operations for the service, Mick Willis, is now confident the problem has been solved.

"Our two biggest centres, in Newcastle and Sydney, were brought back online yesterday afternoon," Mr Willis said.

"Overnight our centre at Dubbo has also been brought back online and our final and remaining centre at Wollongong it is anticipated it will be up and running later this morning."

State Opposition health spokeswoman Jillian Skinner says the shutdown was potentially hazardous.

"This could potentially cost lives. Everyone knows that when it is a serious case, when there is a bad accident or somebody's potentially had a heart attack, time is of the essence," Ms Skinner said.

"I want to know what back-up systems the government has in place to ensure that ambulances can respond in the event that there is some failure of the IT systems."

Health Minister Carmel Tebbutt rejected the concerns.

"There is no risk to patient safety and once again we see Jillian Skinner, who offers no positive plans for the future, once again making political hay out of an unfortunate situation," Ms Tebbutt said.

The Ambulce CAD (computer aided dispatch system) was shut down after the virus was detected.

Triple zero calls were not affected and community members calling for assistence would not have been aware of the system interruptions, an ambulance spokesman said.

A full investigation into the underlying cause of the system issue has now commenced.

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