HOSPITALS and GP surgeries in Lanarkshire have been affected by a cyber attack for the second time this year.

The health board said it had identified "incidences of malware" and took immediate action to prevent it spreading while a solution was put in place.

The board's Chief Executive, Calum Campbell, said it was working to minimise disruption to patients.

Patients at one GP practice were being advised to leave if it was not an emergency and staff were unable to access patient records.

The board said an online system for bank staff to check shifts was also affected.

NHS Lanarkshire chief executive Calum Campbell said: "We have detected some incidences of malware.

"We took immediate action to prevent this spreading while we carried out further investigations.

"We are now putting in place a solution from our IT security provider.

"While the issue is being resolved our staff have been working hard to minimise the impact on patients and we apologise to anyone who has been affected".

One patient, who attended a GP appointment in Hamilton, said: “Receptionists were asking people to only stay and wait to see a doctor if it was an emergency.

“They were unable to access anyone’s notes or test results.

“The staff were really stressed but trying their best to help people. The main receptionist was super stressed about it and was saying it was a cyber attack, although I’m not sure that they had had it confirmed that it was.”

The shutdown is understood to have occurred at 11am today.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said it was aware of the issue and would be releasing a statement.

In May, NHS Lanarkshire was one of eleven Scottish health boards affected by a huge cyber attack on the health service's computer systems.

The nationwide assault on IT systems caused chaos in Airdrie and Coatbridge and with only emergency patients treated.