Wifi in Hospitals – Resources Needed

Although we have made significant progress with influencing hospitals to introduce free wifi for patients (I estimate that around 25% of NHS hospitals now have wifi – some of it charged for), there is still a very long way to go; that 75% remaining represents a lot of hospitals, and even where wifi is in place, people still struggle to get online and use it effectively.

The number of visits to this blog which come from people searching for ways to get online in their hospital has convinced me that there is a pressing need for a lot of support in this area. I maintain that there is no argument that having access to the outside world via free wifi is an essential element in patient recovery. That message has failed to get through to many who run NHS hospitals, and it is also clear that the installation of wifi is not enough to solve the problem as many patients still can’t use it due to lack of knowledge on the part of the staff.

The campaign therefore needs resources. We need resources to:

  • get the message through to the remaining 75%;
  • support patients struggling to get online; and
  • run demonstrator projects which prove the benefits to patient recovery.

Anyone got any ideas of where we can get some money?


5 thoughts on “Wifi in Hospitals – Resources Needed

  1. John

    As a recent joiner to Random Musings this struck me as a blindlingly obvious issue that hasn’t even figured with me !

    So much for my myopia. Many (most?) NHS hospitals are already wifi enabled, but are security protected private networks and so inaccessible to patients and I suspect that one of the issues is NHS sees no benefit in patients accessing the internet (and perhaps even challenging doctors after googling their condition . . . !) hence it has no priority. However, the investment is already in place and while I’m not a techy person, I don’t see insurmountable hurdles in carrying publically-accessible networks on the same infrastructure. (We do here at Age UK with a password protected network – key available to visitors – and faster security-protected network for staff. I don’t know how smart the TV set ups are – normally pay-to-view but would/could the providers enhance their systems as part of rolling improvement?

    I wonder if these thoughts might help get round potential funding issues? Otherwise, BIG with a really challenging bid?, or perhaps a conversation with CQC to show that being connected is related to one or more of the five key domains (safe, caring, effective, responsive and well led.

    • Thanks David for some very pertinent points.

      I have had a few conversations with NHS people about opening up existing networks, and they are usually paranoid about people access medical records and other sensitive information, even though we all know if it perfectly possible to wall off sections for particular purposes.

      I will give some thought to a funding bid.

  2. Do the hotspot providers like The Cloud or BT Wi-Fi have any interest ? seems they use the access as a customer benefit so have at least some interest in wider availablility.

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