More than 1500 Southwest Healthcare staff across the region still have no access to emails or the internet as the fallout of last week's ransomware cyber attack continues to impact.
SWH chief executive officer Craig Fraser said it had been an incredibly difficult time with corporate-related and patient-related systems infected.
There continues to be no internet access.
The South West Alliance of Rural Health - including Warrnambool, Portland, Hamilton, Port Fairy and Colac hospitals - and a similar Gippsland hospital group were the target of a ransomware attack on Monday last week.
Mr Fraser commended his workforce's "can-do" attitude in the face of the ongoing challenges.
As a result all SWH patient services continue to remain unaffected.
"It's impressive and resourceful," he said.
The CEO said staff had been outstanding during the challenging period.
"They've gone the extra mile to overcome problems and ensure patient, client and consumer care is their highest priority," he said.
"This includes undertaking additional roles and extra time at work to ensure all areas are operating and the community impact is minimal.
"It's times like these you really appreciate the high-performing people we have."
Mr Fraser also thanked community members for their patience and understanding.
"It will continue to be challenging until we restore all computer functions across Southwest Healthcare which will happen when we have confidence no risks remain," he said.
"Impacted IT systems and servers are now being rebuilt.
"Workaround systems have been developed to allow for wages and invoices to be processed and for SWH to continue its role of distributing medical consumables, equipment and stationary supplies to its own campuses and to 12 other health services in Moyne, Corangamite, Southern Grampians and Glenelg."
The SWH 24/7 hotline (5564 4253) is available for anyone wanting reassurance about their surgical, medical, dental, GP clinic, community health and/or mental health appointment.
The impacts are even being felt by secondary services such as Brophy Family and Youth Services and the Western Region Alcohol and Drug Centre.
Brophy chief executive officer Francis Broekman said that his staff could not send emails.
They can make calls out to mobile phones but not landlines.
"Communications are limited," he said.
"People can still get in touch with us by calling 1300 Brophy (1300 276 749). We've been part of the South West Alliance of Rural Health for 15 years and this is the first time we've been impacted by a cyber attack.
"As a precaution we disconnected when SWARH started to have issues. We weren't one the targeted IP addresses.
"All our data is intact. We'll slowly move back to the SWARH system in a staged process once we get the all clear."
Polwarth MP Richard Riordan said staff at hospitals from Geelong to Portland were still using their own mobile phones, internet and computer data.
"We've also got people's records, information and data being hand transported and used on non-secure networks," he said.
"On top of all that, when the issue is finally fixed, our already financially-stressed country hospitals will have to put at least three weeks' data back into the system just to ensure they are caught up. That will be a huge task."
Mr Riordon said there were too many unanswered questions following the cyber attack.
"What is the cause of it? Is it an international cyber attack? Is it somebody local who is being mischievous?," he said.
"Will there be proper safety systems in place or is the whole system in country Western Victoria at risk the minute they all get up and running again? This is something that affects every single one of us and at this stage there are too many questions and not enough answers."
Mr Riordan said patient's health data was often time sensitive and the cyber attack had clearly slowed down the transmission of information.
"At the moment, anything that happens to you in our health system in the last two weeks and into the near future is not being recorded live and people don't have access to that information," he said.
"Who knows who is being put at risk by information not being transported to the right people in a timely fashion.
"Nowhere else in the first world do we have people having to hand deliver pieces of paper and important documents, scripts and instruction throughout the health system.
"This is critical."
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