Free NHS WiFi is now available in 6,749 GP practices and 212 acute, mental health and community NHS Trusts across England, benefitting millions of patients.
95% of GP practices and 98% of NHS trusts are already connected with the remaining four trusts and 10 CCGs all underway with their own procurements and set to be live this year. NHS Digital exceeded its target to have 95% coverage, by 31 March 2019, in GP practices and NHS trusts.
Having access to free NHS WiFi is offering a range of possibilities for staff and patients, from staying connected to friends and family using messaging services; to empowering patients to monitor and look after their own health better using digital health services; to keeping injured children entertained in A&E.
Reliable staff access to health information, controlled by appropriate technology has; reduced frustration and wasted time for practice staff, increased satisfaction for patients and increased health economies for CCGs. Staff are able to; work more remotely around offices without having to be tied to a fixed desktop PC, avoid network delays and share notes with colleagues more easily in real-time.
Whilst in a GP practice or hospital setting, patients are able to access information about their condition, treatment and prescriptions, which they can then discuss with their clinician. Clinical staff can also direct patients to apps that can monitor their condition, or record information that is shared with their care team to support decision making.
Patients can access apps that help them communicate with medical staff to understand their health needs better using images, photos and text.
Some patients may want to use mental health related apps. Others may simply want to book further GP appointments or order repeat prescriptions on the NHS App.
Mark Nicholas, Clinical Lead for the programme at NHS Digital said: "It's great to have so many patients already connected to free WiFi, empowering them to take more control over their own health through access to digital services. I'm really pleased that the service is being used for such a wide variety of health reasons."