GP surgeries in Harlow to benefit from broadband upgrade
Business / Mon 7th Sep 2020 at 10:51am
A NEW project commissioned by the Digital Innovation Zone (DIZ) looks set to result in 83 GP surgeries across West Essex and East Hertfordshire in England being upgraded to support broadband or fibre optic Ethernet connections with speeds of up to 1Gbps (Gigabit per second).
The network will be delivered via Openreach (BT), which is itself working in partnership with Capita, Updata and Redcentric. The project is being supported by a public investment of £1.7m under the UK Government’s (DCMS) Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) programme.
According to UKAuthority, the new network to all 83 sites should be completed by March 2021 and that’s an impressively short time-scale, particularly given that they’ve only just begun the detailed planning. Most of the GP surgeries are in Broxbourne, East Herts, Epping Forest, Harlow and the Uttlesford districts.
Councillor Lesley Wagland, Essex County Council, said:
“This project is a great step in improving the digital experience and opportunities for those that use and deliver our health services and to realising the significant benefits from full fibre broadband connectivity for our residents.
Health and care services with digital services based around the patient and our local communities will be a key component of this. Full fibre broadband will help those providing the services to do so closer to where people want them but also to work better, more efficiently and in a joined up way.”
The move follows last year’s announcement by the Government’s Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP, who pledged to upgrade the National Health Service (NHS) with better digital connectivity, not least by ensuring that all GPs and Hospitals are connected to Gigabit capable “full fibre” connections (here). The Minister has also previously encouraged Openreach to help, so it’s no surprise to see them involved.
It is a pity the Tories scrapped the NHS computer project after millions were spent on it. Anyone who has sat in PAH outpatients will have noticed some staff pushing around trolley loads of paper records. The respected journal Nature reported in September 2019: "Data from the US Department of Health and Human Services show that in 2017, 96% of hospitals and 86% of physicians’ offices in the United States had access to electronic health records. Many patients recognize the impact that electronic health records have made. A 2019 poll by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit health-care advocacy organization in San Francisco, California, found that 45% of US citizens think that electronic health records have improved the quality of care." Perhaps the digitising of medical records should be a high priority?
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