NHS is using 800 fax machines despite government vowing to phase them out almost four years ago

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NHS is STILL using 800 fax machines despite government vowing to phase them out almost four years ago

  • Matt Hancock, Health Secretary in 2018, promised to phase out fax machines
  • Freedom of Information requests to 144 NHS trusts found 837 still in operation
  • And some NHS Trusts each have more than 100 fax machines that are still in use

More than 800 fax machines are still being used by the NHS – almost four years after the Government vowed to phase them out.

About one in six NHS trusts across England are still using the outdated machines, Labour found, with three having more than 100 of them.

In December 2018, Matt Hancock, who was then Health Secretary, promised to phase out the ‘archaic machines’, saying ‘everywhere else got rid of them years ago’.

Mr Hancock instigated an immediate ban on the NHS buying more, and ordered their use to be phased out by April 2020. The Department of Health and Social Care said at the time: ‘NHS organisations will be monitored on a quarterly basis until they declare themselves ‘fax free’.’

An earlier survey by the Royal College of Surgeons in July 2018 found almost 9,000 in use.

About one in six NHS trusts across England are still using the outdated machines, Labour found, with three having more than 100 of them

But now, Freedom of Information requests to 199 NHS trusts, running both hospitals and community health services, has found 837 still in operation among the 144 that responded.

Homerton Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust each have more than 100 fax machines in use.

In June, Sajid Javid made a speech stressing how important it was that the NHS made use of modern technology, and promising ‘a more digitised, more efficient’ health service.

In December 2018, Matt Hancock, who was then Health Secretary, promised to phase out the ‘archaic machines’, saying ‘everywhere else got rid of them years ago’

Mr Javid succeeded Matt Hancock as Health Secretary in June 2021. He then resigned a month ago in order to help push out Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.

Labour MP Wes Streeting, the Shadow Health Secretary, said Ministers had once again ‘over-promised and under-delivered on the NHS’. He added: ‘Time and again they’ve promised a digital revolution but they can’t even axe the fax.

‘NHS staff are working flat out to bring record waiting lists down –they shouldn’t have to do it using antique technology.’

A Health Department spokeswoman said last night: ‘Trusts can no longer buy fax machines – they have been removed from NHS buying catalogues – and all NHS organisations continue to replace them at pace.’

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