THE NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE (NHS) has been slammed for its 'farcical' reliance on archaic fax machines, with one trust still using over
A report by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS), seen by INQ, reveals that NHS trusts across in England still own almost 9,000 fax machines, despite their continued investment in new technologies such as 3D printing, artificial intelligence (AI) and robot-assisted surgery.
The biggest culprit is the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust, which alone relies on 603 of the outdated machines. Barts Health NHS Trust owns 369, and the Stockport NHS Foundation Trust owns 250.
These findings, which come via FoI requests made by the RCS, come after a report by DeepMind Health last year named the NHS as the world's largest purchaser of fax machines.
Richard Kerr, RCS Council member and chair of the Commission on the Future of Surgery, said: "The advances we are beginning to see in the use of artificial intelligence and imaging for healthcare, as well as robot-assisted surgery, promise exciting benefits for NHS patients.
"Yet, alongside all of this innovation, NHS hospital trusts remain stubbornly attached to using archaic fax machines for a significant proportion of their communications. This is ludicrous.
"As digital technologies begin to play a much bigger role in how we deliver healthcare, it's absolutely imperative that we invest in better ways of sharing and communicating all of the patient information that is going to be generated.
"The NHS cannot continue to rely on a technology most other organisations scrapped in the early 2000s."
Fax machines aren't the only outdated technology that the NHS continues to rely on, as some trusts continue to run Microsoft's now-defunct Windows XP OS.
However, the Department of Health and Social Care earlier this year announced a 'multi-million-pound' deal to upgrade all NHS systems to Windows 10 in the wake of the WannaCry ransomware outbreak that led to the cancellation of 6,900 appointments. µ
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