A rise in the number of healthcare staff who have wireless internet access is “good but not good enough”, according to the organiser of a survey on NHS wi-fi.

EHI Intelligence commissioned GP Marcus Baw to run the second edition of the nationwide survey on wi-fi use in the NHS, in conjunction with NHS Hackday, OpenGPSoC and HANDI.

Baw decided to run the first survey last year, after speaking to fellow GPs and healthcare professionals about the inconsistencies in access to wi-fi across the health system.

This year’s results show that 51% of survey respondents have access to wi-fi at their place of work, a significant increase from only 28% last year.

Just over 30% of the 500 respondents are able to connect to the wi-fi with their own device, while 23% said wi-fi access is only for work devices and they have not been given one.

Baw told EHI: “I think [the results] are in line with what I was expecting – we’ve got an improvement, and it is a good news story because things are moving in the right direction.”

However, Baw said the result is “good but not good enough”, with more effort needed to change attitudes about access to wi-fi.

“If you aren’t using it for your job, it’s easy to think [wi-fi access] is just a toy – something nice and fun – but GPs need to use a range of internet-based knowledge resources.

“If you want to search through a whole lot of information and find the best fit for something, you can only really do that on the internet.”

Baw said medical school students are now being given iPads to use for their project work and assignments, increasing the urgency of ensuring the next generation of clinicians can readily access the internet.

“When these doctors come out of medical school, they will be extremely fluent with accessing digital knowledge resources, and they won’t even know where to look for non-digital information.”

Baw said NHS organisations should also allow staff to access wi-fi using their own devices, rather than restricting them to work devices.

“If you don’t trust them to use the internet on their own device, why do you trust them with patients? If you’re not going to provide them access on the grounds that you don’t trust them, then you should report them to the GMC.”

Baw said he will keep the survey open to allow more people to respond. EHI Intelligence will issue a full report on the findings later this year.