NHS WiFi in secondary care

Summary

NHS WiFi has been put in place in a small number of NHS acute, mental health and community trusts, and is now being rolled out to a further 115 trusts across the country.

Top tasks

NHS WiFi will provide a secure, stable, and reliable WiFi capability, consistent across all NHS settings. It will allow patients and the public to download health apps, browse the internet and access health and care information.

NHS secondary care trusts are responsible for choosing a supplier that can provide an NHS WiFi standard compliant system which suits their needs, and working with them to implement it across their local NHS sites. The chosen system must be based on a set of policies and guidance defined by NHS Digital.

We at NHS Digital, the CCG and the individual practices all have their own responsibilities in implementing NHS WiFi in GP practice.

What NHS Digital will do

NHS Digital will provide:

  • the standards and requirements that NHS WiFi solutions must meet, including using standardised landing pages and standardised usage reporting: see How to set up NHS WiFi in secondary care settings
  • capital funding contributions to NHS Trusts (via the Department of Health and Social Care) for the roll-out of WiFi services
  • help with support and access to subject matter experts (such as technical, commercial, benefits)

What NHS Trusts need to do

NHS trusts must:

  • assign a named project manager to oversee the process and act as the primary point of contact for their trust with the NHS Digital WiFi project team
  • design a solution that meets NHS WiFi standards and requirements and fulfils local needs
  • choose a supplier to provide the solution and buy it from them (procure it)
  • tell local stakeholders what is going to happen and when
  • implement the chosen NHS WiFi compliant solution in secondary care settings locally, following local ICT policy
  • report progress to NHS Digital at defined stages of the process
  • advise patients on NHS WiFi availability and make sure posters and marketing materials are available within the trust

Funding

The level of funding each NHS trust will get is based on a categorisation of trust size. NHS trusts have been assessed to be small, medium or large based on the number of sites and the size of the clinical delivery area. The funding will be provided by the Department of Health and Social Care.

We will be writing to NHS trusts individually with the funding allocation and arrangements. Budget allocations are always gross and no separate allocations are made for non-recoverable VAT. NHS trusts will need to ensure correct treatment of VAT including recovery for contracted out services where this applies.

Timescales

August 2017

Letters were sent to each of the 16 trusts selected to take part in the initial delivery stage.

31 December 2017

All secondary care settings participating in the first stage of delivery (known as the 'priority adopters') must have compliant WiFi in place and accessible to patients and the public.

January 2018

A letter was sent to each of the 33 trusts selected to take part in the second stage of delivery, which we are calling the 'fast follower' stage.

See all sites taking part in the priority adopter, fast follower and wider roll-out phases.  

31 December 2018

  • all secondary care setting participating in the third stage of delivery (known as the wider rollout' stage) must have compliant NHS WiFi in place and accessible to patients and the public
  • all remaining 'in scope' secondary care settings must have compliant WiFi in place and accessible to patients and the public (subject to approval of funding)

Procurement - buying WiFi services

NHS trusts can choose whether to:

Sites that already offer WiFi

Where a site already has wifi you should discuss the new NHS WiFi standards and requirements with your supplier and agree how they will make their system compliant, and how long this will take.

Aggregated procurements: partnering with other trusts

NHS trusts can also aggregate their procurement by partnering with other organisations to save money. WiFi has already been rolled out in up to 49 Trusts and thousands of GP surgeries as part of a primary care initiative. Some found it saved time, money and effort to combine procurement with neighbouring CCGs/Trusts. We recommend you consult with other NHS trusts in your region to see if this is possible.

Reporting on your CCG's progress

If you are responsible for implementing NHS WiFi for your NHS trust, we need you to tell us when:

  • your trust starts the buying process (procurement)
  • a supplier is chosen and contracted
  • implementation starts
  • WiFi is available to all staff, patients and the public

An online form for reporting progress has been developed and we will discuss this on initial WebEx calls and with your nominated project manager.

Support and maintenance

NHS trusts are responsible for working with providers to arrange support that meets local needs.

Encouraging awareness and helping patients get online

Download the NHS WiFi in secondary care publicity materials resource pack, which contains printable posters, images for screen display and images for social media, to help raise awareness in your area.

Contact details

Contact the team directly on nhswifi@nhs.net

Further information