Letters Free wi-fi across the NHS

The priority for wi-fi across the NHS should be better technology for hospital staff

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h4644 (Published 08 September 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4644
  1. Shyan Goh, orthopaedic surgeon1
  1. 1Sydney, NSW 2152, Australia
  1. sgoh{at}hotmail.com

In addition to concerns that “Members of the public will come in and use the free wi-fi, patients will be distracted and clinics will run even later, and inappropriate use would have to be controlled, with costs of filtering and legal liabilities,”1 I think hospital staff will be distracted from their healthcare duties if administration sees this as part of essential services.

When the internet/wi-fi is down or running slowly people will complain to hospital staff, and doctors and nurses, being the most readily identifiable and available, will probably bear the brunt of these complaints. Is this what we expect our clinical staff to be burdened with in addition to the core business of treating the sick?

Last time I attended an outpatient appointment I brought my own boredom relief devices (a book and an iPad with a mobile modem). Most people came prepared like me and would rather be seen faster than be well entertained during the wait. Perhaps a faster service is better than a boredom-free wait for most of us.

In the meantime, on the ward round junior staff have to push around a 2.5 kg laptop stuck down on to a trolley and it takes at least five minutes to find out what drugs the patient in front of me is charted for (because drug charts at the end of the bed have been removed). Such is the level of technology of equipment and wireless support we have for our clinical staff; perish the thought of trying to find out what you need in a cardiac arrest.


Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4644


  • Competing interests: None declared.


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