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GP practices unable to meet target to supply free Wi-Fi

Logistical issues have impeded over half of GP practices in England from meeting a target to supply free Wi-Fi to their patients.

NHS Digital said that only 43% of GP practices (approximately 3,261 practices) currently offer Wi-Fi services to their patients, despite the target of providing free Wi-Fi to all patients by 31 December 2017.

It said this is due to logistical delays encountered by several CCGs, for example a lack of broadband in rural areas, reports Pulse's sister title Management in Practice.

An NHS Digital spokesperson said: ‘CCGs are responsible for implementing GP Wi-Fi. NHS Digital provides funding and support, while practices are expected to facilitate the installation.

‘While the vast majority of practices will be providing free Wi-Fi by the end of March, some have encountered delays.

‘These delays are varied as they are CCG specific, but include local estate issues, contractor availability and limited or non-existent broadband in rural areas.’

Plans for free Wi-Fi across NHS estates were first floated in 2015, as part of the Government's then-goal to go 'paperless' by 2018.

Readers' comments (16)

  • Cobblers

    How much money is this costing that might have gone into patient care?

    Which drongo thought that providing free wifi at the GP surgery was a good idea? Why?

    We are asked to piddle around with self indulgent frippery and take our eyes off the main point of health care.

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  • Nobody has used ours in months.

    Cost over £2k per practice to fit.

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  • I am paying for the electricity to power the modem.In the last one month one patient used it for 3 minutes.

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  • Dear God, please protect me from other peoples bright ideas. I suppose when there is no GP to see they can use the wifi to contact Babylon

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  • How do you identify how much it is being used? I suspect ours is mini
    mal but would like to know.

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  • It’s because NHS England is filled with bright young things who haven’t got a clue.

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  • A lot of patients have data package on their phones anyway and have been accessing internet without us.

    By the way, has there been any study to proof lack of internet poses adverse outcome to health or outcome of the consultation?

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  • Vinci Ho

    It is not just about providing Wi-Fi access in NHS estates and going ‘paperless’, I am afraid....

    If you have the urge to research into the latest fiasco involving Mark Zuckerberg , Facebook and Cambridge Analytica , the big picture is actually about the overall personal data security(hence , confidentiality ) of all these social media and online access activities.
    ‘Facebook boss apologises in UK and US newspaper ads’
    (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43532948)

    Marry this with the obsession of this government and its health secretary to push for more electronically delivered health services . I think there needs to be a serious rethinking on the drawing board . We already had a serious incident last year when NHS computer systems being hacked and scandalised in the midst of a global cyber attack by WannaCry.
    There are two issues raised by these scenarios:
    (1) The unchecked ability of these apps provider to obtain the so called ‘big data’ of the users i.e. demographic data as well as behaviour , health and even finance related information. How these provider companies ‘processed’ these vital data is seriously questionable.
    (2) The overall security of these web sites and connections, as far as being hacked externally.

    It begs the question of how much resources had been spent by the government and department of Health and Social Care on these issues . The bloody lesson learnt from last year disaster was the NHS computers were vulnerable because their security system was outdated . In fact , the latest news is these computers are still being used in Scotland.
    https://www.scotsman.com/news/nhs-computers-still-run-system-attacked-by-wannacry-hack-1-4712376
    Otherwise , these private companies providing online consultations , prescribing (either patient self funded or provided by firm like Babylon via GP at Hand), are all potentially to have possession of patients’ Big Data.
    To me , there are all the reasons to re-examine and even audit this ideology of delivering more healthcare electronically . Well , at least by these apps......

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  • Total waste of money. The secure are they fitted doesn't work. The actual Wifi available is so slow they can't watch their videos or play their games. Total joke.

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  • I thought this was a joke!!

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