Free WiFi access to be made available in all NHS sites by Spring 2019
Free WiFi: soon to be available at all hospitals, including St. Thomas’ Hospital in London. Image by Pawel Pajor (via Shutterstock).
“Nurse! The touchscreens!” This exalted cry could be heard in hospital wards by Spring 2019. In over two years time, all NHS sites from walk in centres to children’s hospitals will benefit from free WiFi access. By the end of March 2017, twenty Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) will roll out free Wi-Fi across their GP practices.
The use of free WiFi will serve two purposes. Firstly, their most far-reaching development is that of greater cooperation between patient and practitioner. Through an app or website, he or she could use their device to book appointments with their GP. Prescriptions could be made online: in future years, through the surgery’s free WiFi connection – before you go to the chemist. Through Patient Online, you could check your medical records.
The other purpose, to make your stay in hospital a more comfortable experience. If you’ve stayed in hospital for a week or more, boredom is a major factor. Being away from friends and family is another one and without your smartphone or tablet, you may feel isolated. Supposing your hospital ward had free WiFi, you can catch up with your favourite social media sites. Maybe send emails or have a Skype chat from your tablet.
Keep taking the (digital) tablets
As well as enabling you to catch up with the soaps or play garish puzzle games (with nutritionally incorrect overtones), they could be used for checking up on your condition after, for example, an operation. Beyond 2017, they could be used for making hospital food menu choices and arranging patient transport. Or to check the bus times for visitors.
This move has plenty of potential. The proof of pudding will be in the waiting, especially if a long wait could be mitigated by an app. Or being able to play Candy Crush Saga.