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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.