Fibre-optic broadband to be rolled out across the NHS, Health Secretary says

All hospitals and GPs will soon have fibre-optic broadband access to help them “unlock the full potential of technology”, the Health Secretary has said.

Matt Hancock will announce plans to upgrade broadband speed across the NHS in a speech at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) technology conference on Tuesday.

Around 40% of NHS organisations are currently using slow internet, making it difficult for them to offer the latest services such as video consultation, the Department of Health and Social Care said.

Under existing plans, 70% of NHS organisations will have full fibre connectivity using leased lines by August 2020.

However, the Health Secretary is now aiming for every hospital, GP practice and community care service to have fibre-to-the-premises connections, which offers a faster connection, as soon as possible.

Addressing the event in London, Mr Hancock is expected to say: “Every day, our NHS staff do amazing work – but too often they are let down by outdated and unreliable technology.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.”