Research and Technology

10.12.18

‘Archaic’ and ‘absurd’ fax machines banned across the NHS

The NHS has been banned from buying fax machines by the health secretary who has ordered a complete phase-out of the outdated machines by April 2020.

Taking effect from January 2019, NHS trusts will instead be required to invest in new technology to replace any outdated systems and become “fax-free,” using £200m of government funding set aside for modernising the NHS earlier this year.

An FOI request by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) in July revealed that more than 8,000 fax machines are still being used in England by the NHS, which the chair called “absurd.”

Matt Hancock commented on the fax ban: “Because I love the NHS, I want to bring it into the 21st Century and use the very best technology available. We’ve got to get the basics right, like having computers that work and getting rid of the archaic fax machines still used across the NHS when everywhere else got rid of them years ago.

“I am instructing the NHS to stop buying fax machines and I’m setting a deadline for getting rid of them altogether. Email is much more secure and miles more effective than fax machines. The NHS can be the best in the world – and we can start with getting rid of fax machines.”

The Department of Health and Social Care says that secure emails should be used, which will improve patient safety and cybersecurity.

Part of Hancock’s technology vision, digital services and IT systems will soon have to meet a clear set of standards to ensure they can talk to each other across NHS organisations; any system that does not meet these standards will be phased out.

Richard Kerr, chair of the RCS commission on the future of surgery, said: “Most other organisations scrapped fax machines in the early 2000s and it is high time the NHS caught up. The RCS supports the ban on fax machines that will come into place in March 2020.”

He said that since the data on NHS fax machines were published, a number of trusts have pledged to ‘axe the fax’ which proves it is possible to modernise the NHS with the right will and support.

Kerr added: “Advances in artificial intelligence, genomics and imaging for healthcare promise exciting benefits for patients. As these digital technologies begin to play a bigger part in how we deliver healthcare it is crucial that we invest in better ways of communicating the vast amount of patient information that is going to be generated.”

Last week, the RCS published an independent commission, led by Kerr, into the future of surgery which found that a new wave of technology will see massive improvements in the treatment of millions of patients.

Image credit - piyaphun

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

Developing optimal standards of care for the prevention of recurrent Venous Thromboembolism (VTE): consensus statement

22/02/2019Developing optimal standards of care for the prevention of recurrent Venous Thromboembolism (VTE): consensus statement

This document, written by the Bristol-Myers Squibb-Pfizer Alliance, summarises key statements that were agreed during a Bristol-Myers Squibb-Pfizer... more >
NHS England, DHSC rejects reports that patients’ 30-year right to choose where they are treated is under threat

22/02/2019NHS England, DHSC rejects reports that patients’ 30-year right to choose where they are treated is under threat

NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) have rejected reports that the rights of patients to be able to choose where they... more >
NHS staff and families to be evicted under plans to close accommodation

22/02/2019NHS staff and families to be evicted under plans to close accommodation

Staff at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust could be forced out of their homes as the trust’s plans to close the accommodation at ... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated th... read more >

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now bey... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

Did Brexit drown out the NHS Long Term plan?

20/02/2019Did Brexit drown out the NHS Long Term plan?

In January the NHS released its much-anticipated Long Term plan, pledging to save 500,000 lives through new prevent strategies, and making a concerted effort to improve the general public’s health. But Simon Keen, media relations manager at NHS Providers, poses the question: Did Brexit drown out the NHS Long Term plan? Brexit. Bruss... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

Maximising volunteer potential in hospitals

14/02/2019Maximising volunteer potential in hospitals

Sam Ward, director of commissioned services at the Royal Voluntary Service, argues that the right training can help harness the power of voluntee... more >
ICO: Cyber security and the NHS

14/02/2019ICO: Cyber security and the NHS

Peter Brown, acting head of technology policy at the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), explains the importance of good practice in data pr... more >
Leading and managing experts

14/02/2019Leading and managing experts

A coaching conversation is likely to yield the best results. Managing experts in the health industry can be a challenging and varying responsibil... more >
Mesothelioma in the UK: a growing fight

14/02/2019Mesothelioma in the UK: a growing fight

The health impacts of asbestos in the UK can cast a much wider net than those in the construction and building sector. Liz Darlison, head of serv... more >

interviews

How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >
Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

24/01/2018Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

The NHS plays a part in the country’s wellness – but it’s far from being all that matters. Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Pu... more >
Cutting through the fake news

22/11/2017Cutting through the fake news

In an era of so-called ‘fake news’ growing alongside a renewed focus on reducing stigma around mental health, Paul Farmer, chief exec... more >

health service focus

View all News