A national campaign to remove all fax machines in use across the NHS has been launched by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
The Trust, which has committed to removing 95% of its 340 fax machines by the end of the year, is calling upon other organisations to make a similar pledge to bring the NHS out of the dark ages.
Richard Corbridge, Chief Digital Officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said: “There is a huge disjoint in the digitisation in the NHS. While some areas are looking at artificial intelligence and robotics, others are still faxing patient information from one area of a hospital to another. It’s time to finally let go of archaic fax machines, the same way other sectors did decades ago.
“Following the launch of our own internal campaign to remove fax machines, we had an influx of requests from other NHS organisations asking how they could do the same and our goal is to share our best practice and make this a national movement.”
The campaign follows comments from Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock who said that the lack of digitisation and poor processes in the NHS are ‘downright dangerous’ and causing ‘loss of life.’
The Royal College of Surgeons, who earlier this year said that the NHS remained ‘stubbornly attached to using archaic fax machines’ following research that identified more than 8,000 fax machines still in use across the NHS welcomed the new Axe the Fax campaign.
Richard Kerr, chair of the Royal College of Surgeons’ Commission on the Future of Surgery, said: “Well done to Leeds Teaching Hospitals for leading the way and pledging to ‘axe the fax’. We hope that other NHS trusts take note and join the campaign.
“It is ludicrous that so much of the NHS is still reliant on fax machines to communicate. There are very exciting technologies coming down the road that promise to transform the way we provide medical care to patients. The NHS needs a modern communications system that matches up to these technological advances.”
Together with the help of Silver Buck – a specialist in digital health communications, the trust has launched a programme to support other organisations in obtaining stakeholder buy-in and to identify, locate, remove and replace the role of the fax machine with more up to date technology.
The toolkit includes top tips to axe the fax, a pledge card, communication assets and a dedicated email address for additional support.
Deputy Director of Policy and Strategy at NHS Providers, Miriam Deakin, said: “This campaign is a positive step led by a Trust to harness digital technology. It will help to improve efficiency and care and relegate fax machines to the past. It’s an example of Trusts innovating to provide a more convenient and reliable service for patients. This saves money for the health service and time for hard-working NHS staff.
“It is also timely ahead of the NHS ten-year plan which must be an opportunity to invest in digital transformation and much needed capital to improve the IT infrastructure and equipment Trusts need to deliver the high quality of care patients expect.”
For more information or to arrange an interview contact:
Sarah Bruce, Director, Silver Buck
+ 44 (0) 7843239872 #Axethefax #LeedsDigitalWay