With the UK vaccination programme hitting unexpected highs and achieving milestones, comms provider BT has revealed that its engineers and IT experts have played a vital role in helping the NHS deliver the biggest vaccination programme in its history, by bringing high-speed fibre and Wi-Fi connectivity to vaccination centres across England and Wales.
The communications provider says that the roll-out of the broadband network to these sites has played a critical part in helping the NHS to reach its target of offering the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to everyone in its top four priority groups, with over 15 million people taking up the offer so far.
BT is working to connect hundreds more vaccination centres over the coming days and weeks, as the NHS continues to roll out first and second doses to the UK population.
BT, together with its infrastructure partner and broadband provision division, Openreach, have worked with the NHS since Christmas Eve 2020 to get sites connected within a matter of days. The companies have connected over 110 NHS vaccination centres to full fibre broadband and managed Wi-Fi so far, bringing ultrafast, reliable and secure connectivity to staff.
With the new vaccination centres each capable of delivering thousands of vaccinations every week, BT said that reliable Wi-Fi connections were essential in helping the NHS to roll out the vaccine as quickly as possible. The wireless technology is seeing use in allowing clinicians to access and update patients’ vaccination and medical records via secure mobile devices, no matter which part of the building they are working in.
BT also revealed that it has prioritised the connection of smaller NHS vaccination centres across England, and numerous sites in Wales. The company said it has provided enhanced levels of customer service to any vaccination centres which rely on BT, EE or PlusNet products. A dedicated 0800 number has been set up to allow NHS staff to report any issues with network services so that BT can resolve problems as quickly as possible.
“We’re tremendously proud to have played such an active role in getting the NHS vaccination centres across England and Wales up and running,” said Rob Shuter, CEO of BT’s Enterprise business.
“As a critical enabler for the country, we know how vital high-speed, reliable and secure connectivity is for the smooth running of our essential public services, and that’s never been more important.
“We’ll continue to prioritise urgent work for the NHS to help their incredible front-line staff to save lives and protect the public. I’d like to thank the teams across BT and Openreach who have worked tirelessly to design a brand-new service, import equipment from key suppliers and get more than 100 sites up and running, often within just a few days.”
The work with the vaccination centres follows the work that BT did during the earlier days of the pandemic when it played a role with other fixed and mobile operators in connecting all eight Nightingale Hospitals in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as mass testing centres. Since launching in April last year, more than 300,000 NHS staff are benefiting from unlimited data on the EE mobile network.
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