latest health care news

03.01.17

Welsh health board given £3.5m for wi-fi improvements

The Welsh government has announced that £3.5m funding will be given to one of the country’s health boards to fund digital improvements.

The Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABMU) is set to receive £3.5m from the government in order to improve its wi-fi.

The funding is intended to help doctors view patient information more quickly through the Welsh Clinical portal and enhance existing communication channels between patients and their families.

“We want modern and effective technology to be used in all care settings in Wales, helping our doctors and nurses provide the best levels of care,” said Vaughan Gething, Welsh health secretary.

“The benefits of the funding I’m announcing will be clear to see. Not only will it improve patient care, allowing clinicians to access information about them wirelessly at their bedside, they’ll also be able to stay in touch with friends and loved ones while they are undergoing or recovering from treatment,” Gething said.

The initiative forms part of the Welsh government’s Informed Health and Care strategy to improve the state of healthcare services through digital technologies, which was published at the end of last year.

The strategy includes the intention to deliver free wi-fi on all Welsh hospital sites and a portal by April of this year to enable patients to view and update information in their GPs’ systems, with a later plan to expand this service to hospital, community and social care records.

Hamish Laing, CEO of the ABMU Health Board, called the announcement “great news”, commenting: “ABMU was the first health board in Wales to offer free public wi-fi in some of our hospitals and when complete, this investment will allow us to offer it in every hospital in ABMU, including our community hospitals.”

“Not only will this improve the experience for our patients and staff but it is fundamental to our plan to give clinicians information at their fingertips at the bedside and in the clinics.”

Last September, Gething announced that £11.3m would be invested to support digital technology in healthcare, which included funds for greater cyber security and replacing critical infrastructure to support patient services.

Welsh NHS services will be under increasing pressure to attain greater efficiency over the coming years, with a Health Foundation report last October predicting a funding shortfall in the NHS in Wales of £700m by 2019-20.

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