Every patient in England will be able to access free to use Wi-Fi in GP practices, under a scheme being rolled out across the country.
NHS Wi-Fi will be rolled out to all general practices across England by 31 December 2017 and patients will be able to access the internet free of charge in their GP's waiting room, via their smart phone or tablet.
It will enable patients to link in with local health clinics and services and is paving the way for future developments in digital patient care.
Internet access will be granted through an NHS.UK landing page which will host national healthcare information alongside locally generated content from the general practice or CCG, such as information about local clinics and health services. Patients can use the service to access and download health apps, browse the internet and look up health and care information.
David Corbett, NHS Wi-Fi Programme Head at NHS Digital, said "The introduction of free Wi-Fi services across NHS primary and secondary care locations is a response to feedback from patients and staff. It will provide an efficient, reliable and secure platform that will enable patients and carers to access and utilise digital health and care services. This will support improved patient experience and help patients to take more control and have more involvement in the delivery of their care. It will also provide clinicians and other NHS staff with greater access to online information, services and tools which will support them to deliver better care, and ultimately improve clinical outcomes."
The next steps for the 187 CCGs who have received the funding to rollout Wi-Fi will be to source Wi-Fi services from a commercial supplier that can meet the national Wi-Fi standards developed by NHS Digital and then implement Wi-Fi in GP practices locally.
Plans are also in place to rollout Wi-Fi to hospitals and the rest of secondary care by December 2018, with the first secondary care Trusts expected to receive funding and to start rolling out over the next few months