This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pul jul aug2020 cover 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

Independents' Day

NHS pledges free WiFi in every GP practice by the end of 2017

NHS England has committed to rolling out free, public WiFi in every GP practice by the end of this year to better connect them to local health clinics and allow patients to access health information and apps.

Twenty CCG areas, covering 1,000 practices and five million patients have already received funding and will have fully operational WiFi in all of their practices by the end of the financial year.

Pulse reported the NHS’s was considering rolling out wireless internet across the health service back in 2015, when they said it would save ‘billions by reducing the time staff spend tied to terminals’.

But at the time GP leaders said there weren’t obvious benefits to practices ‘beyond giving patients something to do in the waiting room’, and said NHS England should prioritise the basics over ‘bells and whistles’.

Practices are the vanguard for the wireless rollout across the rest of the NHS and have been prioritised because installation will be easier in smaller organisations.

An NHS Digital updates said: ‘NHS WiFi is a response to patient feedback asking for free Wi-Fi services to be introduced in NHS locations.’

Practices were also warned that they ‘must allow reasonable access to their site for all the survey, installation, and commissioning work that is required’.

Practices with existing WiFi could have their current arrangements reviewed to ensure the service is in line with new standards for all digital suppliers, the update added.

Director of digital experience at NHS England, Juliet Bauer, said the programme will open up ‘online pharmacy services and approved patient apps’ to patients and let GPs ‘maximise the benefits of new technologies’.

She added: ‘Patients will be able to access their GP record online through the Patient Online portal whilst in their consultation, empowering them to take more of an active role in discussing and managing their condition, which we know leads to better health outcomes.’

Where WiFi is being rolled out first

The 20 early adopter areas who were allocated funding in January and will have ‘fully implemented’ WiFi in practices by the end of March, are:

  • NHS Bolton CCG
  • NHS Brent CCG
  • NHS Bury CCG
  • NHS Central London (Westminster) CCG
  • NHS Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley CCG
  • NHS Ealing CCG
  • NHS Greenwich CCG
  • NHS Hammersmith and Fulham CCG
  • NHS Harrow CCG
  • NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees CCG
  • NHS Hounslow CCG
  • NHS Lewisham CCG
  • NHS North Tyneside CCG
  • NHS North West Surrey CCG
  • NHS Richmond CCG
  • NHS South Tees CCG
  • NHS South Tyneside CCG
  • NHS Swale CCG
  • NHS West London CCG
  • NHS Wolverhampton CCG

Source: NHS Digital

Readers' comments (7)

  • Spending millions on wifi at a time when mobile phone internet access is becoming ubiquitous and when wifi routers are hot targets for hacking.

    Classic NHS

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Which company has bunged the relevant parties.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This is utterly pointless

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • what a total waste of time and money ! healthcare is about examining and diagnosing. We have gone too patient centric now this is getting silly. Money needs to go into actual patient care not digital technology for the benefit of patients in a waiting room !

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Our internet connection is creaking already before we add on a bunch of muppets streaming YouTube and porn in the waiting room. Patients already interrupt consultations to take mobile calls, now they will posting their status and looking at their 'likes'. Who dreams up this nonsense?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Council of Despair

    I really think this is a bad idea

    don't know about you but I like patients to go home as soon as they have had their appointment - I don't want to encourage loitering about in a waiting room that doesn't have capacity. I don't understand the logic of having wifi in a surgery as you would hope the turnaround time from attending the appointment to finishing should be around 20-30 mins bar running late / emergencies. so what clinical advantages will it have?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Priorities!Patients want to be seen not have more wi-fi. What a joke.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say