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'This affected everyone': Sarnia mayor critical of lack of transparency in Bluewater Health cyber-attack

The mayor of Sarnia said he’s disappointed by the way Bluewater Health has managed public dissemination of information regarding a ransomware attack at its hospitals.

Mike Bradley is condemning hospital brass for what he says is a lack of transparency on the part of the public institution.

“The feedback I’ve been getting from the public is they want more disclosure,” said Bradley. “They understand these things can happen. It’s the way of the future. It’s happening all the time to institutions. When you’re a public institution I think the rules are different, so the more communication the better.”

Patient records dating back more than 30 years, affecting 267,000 patients, were stolen by last month by hackers. Bluewater Health said last week in its latest update that all patients treated at its Sarnia Lambton Hospitals from 1992 onward were affected by the breach.

In addition, the social insurance numbers of about 20,000 people were taken.

“But I do think for the sake of the community the more disclosure that they can give would be helpful,” said Bradley. “This affects everyone. Everyone’s concerned, and I hear a lot about the social insurance numbers ‘cause you can start a whole new life with a social insurance number. That is the one story I hear over and over again from the public. ‘What can happen to that number? How can it be used?’”

Bluewater Health appears to be the hardest hit of a group of southwestern Ontario hospitals targeted in the cyber-attack. The affected hospitals said restoration is not expected to be complete until mid-December.

“These stories are important to people,” said Bradley. “This affected everyone to some degree in Lambton County. So there needs to be more disclosure, even if it’s just to acknowledge what the process to get out of this is. The public needs to know that.”

Bluewater Health has refused to answer questions about the ransomware attack, instead issuing updated statements on its recovery progress. Top Stories

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