South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust will be one of the first participants of a nationwide scheme to roll out free wi-fi across the NHS.
The trust has been allocated funding to be an early adopter of NHS WiFi, which will see wireless internet access offered to patients, clinicians and the general public inside NHS buildings.
Starting in March, South West Yorkshire Partnership will be install wi-fi in all settings with “regular client-facing contact”, with the aim of having free internet available across the trust’s entire estate by April 2018.
The trust is working with IT service provider Daisy Group to roll out the service.
Paul Foster, head of IT services and systems development, said: “This work will provide our patients, service users and public with secure, stable, and reliable WiFi capability across the Trust sites, which will be consistent with the required national standards.”
NHS WiFi entered its first phase in early 2017, targeting primary and urgent care settings. As of June last year, it had been installed in 991 GP practices across England.
Hospitals and secondary care providers will follow this year in a second phase spanning 2018/19, which will also free internet access rolled out to mental health and community organisations.
Online access is delivered via an NHS.UK landing page, which hosts national healthcare information alongside locally-generated content about local health services.
South West Yorkshire Partnership registered its interest in becoming an early adopter. It was one of several trusts competing for the funding to implement the service on-site.
According to the trust, early feedback from the programme has been positive. At its Newton Lodge facility, where wi-fi is already available, service users are able to bid for social housing, manage bank accounts and shop online from the wards.