Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board has implemented free wi-fi for its patients across several of its hospitals.

The health board has partnered with wi-fi hotspot provider The Cloud, to deploy the free internet service, allowing patients to go online.

Carl Mustad, head of ICT operations at the health board, said that the wi-fi service has already been very well used by patients.

“The roll-out was completed very recently and more than 7,000 people were using the service on the first six days, spending a total of 1.5 million minutes online,” he said.

According to the health board, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg is the first in Wales to launch a free public wifi-service and it is available in areas where there is already an existing wireless system for NHS use.

Mustad said that the health board made the decision after listening to patients who were frustrated by the lack of internet access as most of its hospitals have poor mobile signal.

It will also let clinicians gain access to internet resources at the bedside.

“Building on the significant investment in wireless technology within hospitals and community sites, we have creatively overlaid the free wi-fi service which provides internet access on personal devices such as smart phones, tablets and laptops for patients in both inpatient and outpatient settings,” said Mustad.

“We hope that having this offering in place will improve the quality of their time in hospital – letting them surf the web, but also providing opportunities for us to gain valuable patient feedback to improve our service even further in the future.”

The cost of implementing the wi-fi has been paid for by reinvesting savings made by the ICT department.