NHS buildings to provide free Wi-Fi

The move will mean patients can use their smart phones or other devices to go online in order to keep in touch with friends and family or watch TV on-demand. Currently, some hospitals charge for Wi-Fi while others have no access at all.

No deadline has been set for the plans as of yet, but the NHS is set to be ‘digital and paperless’ by 2020. The inclusion of free Wi-Fi is part of a recommendation from a government-commissioned report on improving the use of online technology in the health service.

The service will be financed using £1 billion from the technology fund.

Hunt 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."

Some hospitals have already replaced paper charts with mobile clinical systems and tablets, allowing for data to be shared around the building. The Department of Health insisted the use of e-prescribing could reduce medication errors by 50 per cent.

Furthermore, the plans will encourage the use of technologies which could help alert doctors and nurses to medical problems and reduce paperwork and errors.

Patients could also wear monitors to alert medical staff to issues, such as diabetics who have experienced ‘largely avoidable’ hypoglycemic episodes while in hospital.

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