Posted: Thu 27th Jan 2022

NHS Wales urged to ditch ‘archaic’ fax machines as MS left ‘shocked’ they’re still in use

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jan 27th, 2022

A North Wales MS has called for fax machines to be phased out from NHS Wales with immediate effect.

The plea follows the revelation in a Senedd committee meeting that a fax machine had to be bought recently for a new Welsh hospital, with a top doctor pleading “No more fax machines!”

Following the meeting, Plaid Cymru’s health spokesperson, Rhun ap Iorwerth expressed his shock that these machines were still used as part of modern medical practice in Wales, tweeting “Pa ganrif ydi hon?” (What century is this?)

Speaking at the Health and Social Care Committee, Dr Karl Davies said that when “GPs fax referrals into the emergency unit, I never see it. Why is that not emailed to me? Because I can’t deal with the emergency information if that emergency information doesn’t get to me.”

The BBC reported in 2018 that the NHS is Wales has around a thousand fax machines.

The NHS in England was told to stop buying fax machines in January 2019.

Mr ap Iorwerth, who is the Senedd Member for Ynys Môn, said: “It’s ridiculous, in this day and age that a new Welsh hospital has had to buy a fax machine so that it can follow outdated processes still used in parts of the NHS.

“It says a lot about the need to drag the NHS in Wales into the 21st century.

“This must change. Welsh Government’s hope that usage would decline naturally over time has not been borne out, and so they must now put steps in place to ensure this technology – and all the costs that go with maintaining these old machines – are phased out, starting now.

“If a news outlet wants to run this story, they may need to include an explainer on what a fax machine is – that’s how archaic the technology is.

“Our hospitals should not be relying on this form of communication and certainly not in the case of emergencies.”

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