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Wi-fi in Hospitals

Volume 604: debated on Tuesday 5 January 2016

9. What assessment his Department has made of the need for wi-fi infrastructure in hospitals to facilitate use of developing healthcare technologies. (902866)

Digitalisation of healthcare is absolutely essential for the 21st-century NHS—for individual care, for system performance and safety, and for research. Wi-fi is an important part of that, with benefits for doctors, nurses, hospital management and patients. That is why I am delighted that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State secured the necessary funding in the comprehensive spending review to fund fully the NHS’s plans for digitalisation and transformation. We have announced that we are implementing Baroness Martha Lane Fox’s recommendation of free wi-fi in all NHS hospitals.

I am grateful for that answer. The new chief executive of the Royal Shrewsbury hospital informed me that people can receive wi-fi in only half of the hospital area. Can the Minister give me an assurance that everything will be done to ensure that wi-fi is available throughout the Royal Shrewsbury hospital?

That is an important point. It is up to each hospital to implement digitalisation in its own way, but we are putting in place a series of steps to make sure that all parts of the NHS are supported and encouraged in the drive for delivery of a paperless NHS by 2020. In the new year, we are requiring the clinical commissioning group digital index, which will measure the digitalisation of all health economies, and we are launching a review of best practice. We are absolutely committed to driving digitalisation so that the 21st-century NHS is not running on paper and cardboard.