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Creating a new NHS England: NHS England and NHS Digital merged on 1 February 2023. More about the merger.

WiFi and me – a stroke of good fortune for worried patients

Bruce has type 1 diabetes, is an active Diabetes UK member, son, father, fell walker and passionate Sunderland fan. Here he tells us how NHS WiFi has made a difference to his care and why it will benefit patients throughout the NHS.

Bruce was diagnosed with diabetes in 1970. He remembers that patients back then had the same worries about GP appointments and visiting hospital as they do now. They also had the same thirst for knowledge to allow them to manage their health better. He’s grateful that, since 2014, he has been able to access his GP records via his smartphone:

It helps me so much in ordering repeat prescriptions and knowing that they’re waiting for me at the Pharmacy, in viewing and understanding test results and diagnoses and in avoiding the need for me to go and visit my busy GP if I have little niggles or worries.

As always, healthcare professionals need the most up to date medical information in order to offer the best possible care. Whilst technology, the internet and smartphones have changed Bruce’s personal life immeasurably, he’s found that many NHS organisations are confused as to how to take advantage of such digital advances.

Take, for example, a recent visit to his rheumatologist. Bruce recalled that the doctor's biggest pain on the day was that the trust's IT system was down and so he had no access to Bruce's medical records or referral details. Bruce confidently announced that he could share them with the doctor using his iPhone. Unfortunately, due to the limited level of connectivity, it took a long time for his records to display which extended the length of the consultation, and potentially eroded the doctor's patience and trust in mobile technology.

If only we’d had WiFi we could have cut the appointment time in half

In October 2017 some speech problems, along with tingling in his fingers and arms, necessitated a visit to the local stroke unit. Bruce found that, again, the hospital IT system was down. Only this time, buried deep within the hospital, Bruce didn’t have enough mobile signal to produce his records on his smartphone. The blood pressure medication prescription he was given was down largely to the fact he had a recent prescription slip in his wallet which listed all his current medications.

Now in 2019 things feel very different. Bruce was sat in his GP’s reception area last winter, waiting for his flu jab and bemoaning the lack of network coverage on his smartphone, when:

I noticed that NHS WiFi was now available in the practice. Hallelujah!! And it was so simple to log on to and easy to use.

NHS WiFi has ensured Bruce can access his GP records when he needs them most; immediately before and during an appointment. With his medical history at his fingertips he can ask more relevant questions about his care and make the most of the limited appointment time .

Sadly I still have the irritation of tingly, painful fingers, but I don’t have the pain of accessing the information that I need.

Bruce is not the only person to applaud the arrival of NHS WiFi. He believes that NHS WiFi will benefit patients and relatives alike.

When I’m visiting or contacting friends in hospital NHS WiFi is such a big help, in communicating with people and keeping their spirits up. Now thanks to NHS WiFi you can keep up your connections with the outside world in sickness and in health.

Last edited: 28 August 2019 2:00 pm