ipopba - stock.adobe.com
Nearly all of the NHS trusts and GP practices across England now have broadband access, according to NHS Digital.
The target to have 95% coverage was exceeded by 31 March, with 95% of GP practices (6,749 locations) and 98% of NHS trusts (212 locations) connected with free NHS Wi-Fi.
The remaining four trusts and 10 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have their own Wi-Fi procurements under way and are expected to be connected this year, says NHS Digital.
Jo Panter, practice manager at Bury CCG, which is responsible for 30 GP practices and medical centres and is one of the early adopters of NHS Wi-Fi, said: “The practice staff have found having the Wi-Fi to enable laptops and tablets to be used for meetings has made a really positive impact and has changed our approach to the structure of practice meetings.”
Another early adopter,
According to the trust, improved availability and reliability of the Wi-Fi network has resulted in clinicians and practice staff using it more, with cyber security awareness improving as a result of protocols adopted during the implementation, as well as a reduction in patient complaints.
The nationwide roll-out follows a pledge in 2016 to offer free internet access to patients across the NHS. The plan came after digital champion Martha Lane Fox said in a report published in 2015 that the introduction of Wi-Fi would improve people’s take-up of digital services in health and social care by 2020.
Her recommendation was endorsed by then-health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who announced he would make funding available to improve Wi-Fi connectivity across the health service.
Read more about NHS IT
- NHS Digital is soliciting input to its Internet First policy, a set of standards and guidelines to help health and social care
organisationsmake digital services accessible over the internet.
- A new framework has been launched by NHS Digital to simplify IT provision for surgeries and create a competitive systems marketplace for primary care.
- The urgent healthcare service NHS 111 has reached its one millionth triage mark since its launch.