Free wi-fi to be rolled out across NHS in EnglandBMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h6934 (Published 23 December 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6934
All NHS premises in England will be equipped with free wi-fi technology as part of a government push to free up staff time and improve patients’ experience.
The move, announced by the health secretary for England, Jeremy Hunt, follows a recommendation in a report commissioned by the government and the entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox that suggested ways to improve use of digital technology in the NHS.1
Fox recently said that bringing free wi-fi to the NHS could help junior doctors reduce the time they spent on administrative tasks.2
The initiative will be funded from the government’s £1bn technology fund and will signal a major expansion of the NHS’s digital offering. Though some NHS hospitals already provide wi-fi access, patients are often charged to use it, while other buildings have no wi-fi access at all.
Hunt said that the expansion would allow staff and patients to access a wider range of services and help reduce costs by freeing up clinical time.
He said, “Everyone using the NHS expects it to be a world leader in digital healthcare, and free wi-fi is an essential part of making that a reality.
“It will give patients and staff the ability to access the services they need as well as freeing up clinical time and reducing overall costs.”
No deadline has been set for meeting the target, but the Department of Health previously said that it expected the NHS to be “digital and paperless” by 2020.3
Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6934