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Fibre optic upgrade plans revealed for all NHS sites

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced plans to upgrade every NHS hospital, GP practice and community care service to full fibre connectivity.


Almost 40% of NHS organisations are using slow and unreliable internet supplied through copper lines, which restricts the ability to offer digital services to patients.


Today’s announcement is intended to support ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan to expand and improve online access to NHS services, including the choice of a 'digital first' approach in primary care for all patients, the availability of more outpatients services via 'virtual clinics', and cloud-based patients records. 


Upgrading broadband will provide the fast, more reliable connections necessary for video consultations and sharing high-definition images at speed.


Matt Hancock says: “Every day, our NHS staff do amazing work – but too often they are let down by outdated and unreliable technology. It’s simply unbelievable that a third of NHS organisations are using internet that can sometimes be little better than dial-up.


“To give people control over how they access NHS services, I want to unlock the full potential of technology  – this is the future for our 21st century healthcare system and a central part of our NHS Long Term Plan.


“Faster broadband connections can help us deliver these dramatic improvements – we need clinicians and other healthcare professionals to feel confident they can access fast, reliable broadband so they can provide patients with the best possible care.”