Wifi in Hospitals


This post is for the myriad of people who come to my blog looking for information on how to get online while they are in hospital. I am really sorry, that I probably won’t be able to help you.

I’ve been running the Campaign for Free Wifi in Hospitals for a number of years now. We have a Facebook Group here, and I did get a small amount of funding for the cause about three years ago. Oh, and there is a self-populating list of hospitals with wifi here. My unscientific estimate is that slightly more than a third of NHS hospitals in the UK now how wifi which is accessible to patients, sometimes free, but not always, whereas, as far as I know, 100% of private hospitals have free patient wifi.

But, I really feel for the people who come to my blog looking for information on how to connect to the outside world while they are in hospital. It is incredibly frustrating, I know, not being able to keep in touch with family, friends, and work while in a hospital ward. I wish there was more I can do. We need a co-ordinated approach to this, but no one with resources seems interested.

9th March 2014:  I’m updating this post with news of a major positive breakthrough https://johnpopham.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/wifi-for-hospital-patients-a-major-breakthrough/

6 thoughts on “Wifi in Hospitals

  1. Has there been a ‘contact your MP’ type campaign yet?

    My partner is often in hospital with an ongoing genetic condition. At the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham we were once told by a chatty nurse that actually there was enough wifi for staff and patients but it was blocked for ever to patients because of a deal which had been signed. There is internet which you can pay for on terrible old combination telly/phone/computer screens – the type you swing around the bed. Slow, difficult to use and expensive, and of course it is hard to access your own stuff. Our solution is ‘3’ dongles in our own laptops. Mostly works, unless particularly poor reception in an area. Staff don’t interfere and much better value than the hospital system, We run a Twitter account and a blog on the whole experience when he is there.

    I also sometimes get late night emails – can be much easier to email than talk on the phone. People often feel vulnerable in hospital and upset quickly. There is often little privacy. It can be much easier to let off steam about the annoying member of hospital staff, or fellow patient, by email when they may be only feet away …

    • Thanks Julia

      It’s difficult to co-ordinate a proper campaign without resources, but, writing to MPs is a very good suggestion, and I would advise it to anyone who comes here looking for help. I’ve just been asked to enter the Campaign for a social media in health award. I’ll look at doing that as it might raise the profile, but it asks for a lot of monitoring information which I don’t have the time or resource to collate.

  2. Hello and well done on your campaign. The self-reported list of hospitals is a great idea and I will try to get it out to the NHS Trusts to encourage reporting. It might be useful to contact some of the suppliers as well e.g. WiFi Spark have a list of the sites they work with at https://www.wifispark.com/example-markets/hospital-wifi/healthcare-locations . They might not all have free visited but I know for example that Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust do and I expect a number of the others do too.

  3. Hi John, as you know the list of hospitals and whether they have free Wi-Fi was picked up by the NHS Hackday group, and Chris Casey has now created a website with all hospitals listed and it can be recorded or searched there whether a hospital has free Wi-Fi for patients and visitors. This is at http://ec2-54-237-33-114.compute-1.amazonaws.com:8080/ewd/aboutMyHospital/index.html . The data from your original table has been added. Chris is hoping to add other useful features as well e.g. car parking details. Best wishes, Malcolm

  4. and should have said that the site is fine in Chrome and Firefox, a fix is needed early next week for it to work fully on internet explorer.

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