NHS Scotland Still Relying on Fax Machines for Some Communications

David Stewart MSP

David Stewart MSP

Local MSP David Stewart, who is also Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, is astounded that many Health Authorities in Scotland are still reliant on Fax machines for communication.

David Stewart said:

“With all the technological advances in health it is astounding that authorities across Scotland are still using this archaic equipment.

“I am sure the public will be very surprised that more than 1,000 fax machines are still churning away in the corridors of our hospitals and clinics. We urgently need more modern forms of communication.

“The NHS is way behind other organisations and private companies which scrapped fax machines more than a decade ago. And, forget the paperless office, it’s a dream for most of our NHS boards.

“I could understand authorities keeping a few faxes for contingencies, and broadband problems are a real challenge for some areas, but I was quite taken aback by the number still in existence.

“The Scottish Government should be on top of this and invest in more modern communication systems.”

Responding to a Freedom of Information request from David Stewart NHS Orkney revealed that it required to use 28 Faxes in 2018.

A spokesperson for NHS Orkney said:

“Fax machines are used to maintain essential communications. Many of our locations have poor bandwidth links which are frequently unavailable and can take several days to repair.”

For other parts of Scotland the numbers for 2018 are:

 NHS Shetland: 15

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde: unable to provide data

NHS Borders: 88

NHS Lanarkshire: 121

NHS Ayrshire and Arran: unable to provide data

NHS Forth Valley: 11

NHS Grampian:400

NHS Tayside: 300

NHS Dumfries and Galloway: no number provided

NHS Highland: no number provided

NHS Fife: 86

NHS Lothian: 138

NHS Western Isles: 18

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