Hundreds of GP practices to have free wifi for patients by end of March

Almost 1,000 GP practices across England will have free wifi for patients from the end of March, with the service rolled out across all practices by the end of 2017.

Practices in 20 early adopter CCG areas - in London, Newcastle, Bolton and other parts of England - were granted funding to support the move and plan to set up the free wifi service from 31 March.

A total of 991 GP practices - around one in eight in England - are in the areas set to deliver the service first. NHS Digital says 5m patients will benefit from the first wave of free wifi.

NHS officials say the wifi service has been developed in response to patient demand, but hope it will enable 'future developments in digital patient care'.

Patients will be able to access the internet from their GP practice waiting rooms via an landing page 'which will host national healthcare information alongside locally generated content from the general practice or CCG'.

GP access

This could include information about local clinics and health services, and patients will be able to use the services 'to access and download health apps, browse the internet and look up health and care information'.

Wifi will be rolled out across all NHS locations, including hospitals, by spring 2019.

Director of digital experience at NHS England Juliet Bauer said: 'Installing fast and free-to-use wi-fi in NHS buildings is an important first step in the delivery of a digital healthcare experience. It will help patients to manage their health by opening up access to digital platforms such as online pharmacy services and approved patient apps and enable doctors and nurses to maximise the benefits of new technologies.

'Patients will be able to access their GP record online through the Patient Online portal whilst in their consultation, empowering them to take more of an active role in discussing and managing their condition, which we know leads to better health outcomes.'

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