Fax machines are to be banned across the NHS

Fax machines are to be banned across the NHS as Health Secretary unveils plans to overhaul outdated technology and ‘bring health service into the 21st century’

  • Ban comes after the NHS was revealed to be world’s biggest fax machine buyer 
  • There are more than 8,000 in service across NHS, with 600 in just one hospital 
  • Trusts to be measured every quarter to ensure that all are fax-free by April 2020 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock (pictured) has ordered the NHS to stop buying fax machines as he looks t phase them out

The NHS is banned from buying fax machines as the government looks to purge the service of outdated technology. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has barred hospital trusts from buying machines and demanded they are scrapped completely by April 2020.

Trusts will have to invest in new systems and the government has set aside £200million for modernisation.  

Mr Hancock told The Sunday Telegraph that he loves the NHS and wants to ‘bring it into the 21st century’ after it emerged that the service was the world’s leading buyer of fax machines. 

‘I am instructing the NHS to stop buying fax machines and I’m setting a deadline for getting rid of them altogether,’ he said. ‘Email is much more secure and miles more effective than fax machines.’ 

There are more than 8,000 fax machines in service across the NHS and 600 of those are in one hospital.

Branded a ‘stubborn’ resistance to technology, critics said it put patients at risk of mistakes being made in A&E. 

Medical leaders said the machines are not a secure means of passing on information about patients. 

The scrapping of fax machines across the health service came amid worries that they were not a secure means of passing on information 

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Fax machines will be phased out by April 2020 and the NHS has been banned from buying them by the government

Mr Hancock announced the ban on Friday and his ministerial edict means trusts will be monitored every quarter until they can declare that they are ‘fax-free’. 

New systems will have to meet standards that ensure they can talk to one another across organisational boundaries and are capable of continuous upgrades.   

The government will phase out systems not meeting those standards and will aim to scrap contracts with providers which don’t respond positively to the new requirements.

It is hoped the changes will enable the use of cutting-edge technology that supports personalised, predictive and preventative care. 



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