A NEW REPORT shows that the UK National Health Service (NHS) is not only still using pagers, but is actually using 10 per cent of the world's stocks.
For our younger viewers, pagers are small boxes that beep with either a written message or for more primitive models alert you to ring an operator for a message.
"But how do you play Angry Dick-Snap Poke-gram on that?" I hear you cry.
Anyway, the report, published in the Guardian and released by ‘digital solutions' firm CommonTime, estimates that the pagers are costing £6.6m per year for 130,000 units, a price which, were they replaced with mobile handsets, would save the NHS £2.7m annually.
Vodafone recently announced its pager business was to close at the end of November affecting not just doctors but also field operatives from energy companies such as EDF who use the system because of its reliability or bird watchers (apparently) who use it to send out group alerts of the latest Lesser-Spotted Grebe-Wobbler sightings or whatevs.
PageOne, which will be the last major pager company left in the UK by the end of the year, says on its website: "Paging remains one of the fastest, simplest, most reliable and most cost-effective networks to send critical alerts and notifications to multiple users at the same time.".
Meanwhile, the report attempts to raise alarm on the costs and inflexibility of the system claiming they "cannot continue to exist in the NHS anymore" and adding that it was surprised that "legacy equipment that is relied upon in emergency situations so heavily".
Many doctors disagree, however, believing that the level of reliability and indoor coverage afforded by pagers could not be matched by mobile networks.
The news comes as EE begins the process of retrenching its GSM network for use over 4G. These lower frequencies have a better transmission rate through asbestos lined walls, which means that there's more chance of them helping out in a hospital with its lead x-ray rooms and lower-ground clinics.
In 2014, Apple was sued for use of pager technology in its products, showing that the former favourite is still relevant in the 21st century. µ
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