NHS Supply Chain has confirmed that it is no longer providing fax machines to the health service in a bid to improve data security and encourage investment in new technology.
The original directive came from Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock, with the aim of modernising the health service and making it easier for NHS organisations to introduce innovative technologies. Ultimately this will mean a better service for patients and more efficient and secure processes for staff.
The Secretary of State said, “Because I love the NHS, I want to bring it into the 21st century and use the very best technology available. We’ve got to get the basics right, like having computers that work and getting rid of the archaic fax machines still used across the NHS when everywhere else got rid of them years ago.
“I am instructing the NHS to stop buying fax machines and I’m setting a deadline for getting rid of them altogether. Email is much more secure and miles more effective than fax machines. The NHS can be the best in the world – and we can start with getting rid of fax machines.”
As part of the ‘Future of Healthcare’ vision, NHS organisations will be required to use modern communication methods, such as secure email, to improve patient safety and cyber security. Trusts were given notice of the withdrawal of fax machines in early December, and the machines and consumables were delisted on 28 January by NHS Supply Chain. Trusts will be expected to discontinue their use altogether by 31 March 2020.
Supply Chain Chief Operating Officer Alan Wain said, “All fax machines and associated consumables have been removed from our NHS Supply Chain catalogue. New technology is playing an increasing role in healthcare and we are helping to ensure that the NHS is using the best way to communicate patient information as part of these developments.”