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Health secretary promises NHS staff slow internet will be a thing of the past

Matt Hancock wants broadband upgrade for every hospital, GP practice and community service

Matt Hancock wants broadband upgrade for every hospital, GP practice and community service


NHS staff live with the daily frustration of slow online access. Picture: Tim George

All hospitals, GP surgeries and community care services in England will soon have fibre-optic broadband access to help them 'unlock the full potential of technology', the health secretary claims.

Matt Hancock announced plans to upgrade broadband speed across the NHS, in a speech at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) technology conference on Tuesday.

Slow internet connections are the norm

Around 40% of NHS organisations are currently using slow internet, making it difficult for them to offer the latest services such as video consultation.

‘It’s simply unbelievable that a third of NHS organisations are using internet that’s little better than dial-up’

Matt Hancock, health and social care secretary for England

Under existing plans, 70% of NHS organisations would have full fibre connectivity using leased lines by August 2020. However, the health secretary is now aiming for every hospital, GP practice and community care service to have fibre-to-the-premises connections, which offers a faster connection, as soon as possible.


Fibre-optic broadband will open up access to more services. Picture: iStock

‘Unreliable technology is letting our staff down’

Mr Hancock said: 'Every day, our NHS staff do amazing work – but too often they are let down by outdated and unreliable technology. It's simply unbelievable that a third of NHS organisations are using internet that can sometimes be little better than dial-up.

'To give people control over how they access NHS services, I want to unlock the full potential of technology – this is the future for our 21st century healthcare system and a central part of our NHS Long Term Plan.

'Faster broadband connections can help us deliver these dramatic improvements – we need clinicians and other healthcare professionals to feel confident they can access fast, reliable broadband so they can provide patients with the best possible care.'


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