HC Deb 19 May 2004 vol 421 c1021W
Malcolm Bruce

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the hospitals which(a) have and (b) do not have access to broadband-enabled Internet, broken down by (i) London boroughs, (ii) metropolitan boroughs, (iii) shire districts, (iv) unitary authorities, (v) shire counties and (vi) other local authorities; and if he will make a statement on the benefits of broadband connectivity to (A) patients and (B) hospital staff. [173097]

Mr. Hutton

[holding answer 14 May 2004]: All acute trusts in England have broadband connections to the national health service national network. Information about the type of local authority organisation within which the trust is based is not collected.

A major part of the infrastructure programme is the implementation of the NHS national broadband network. This will provide the NHS with world class networking services, including secure broadband connectivity, for the future. The substantially enhanced bandwidth, intelligent network services and new network technologies will meet increasing demand and offer a range of new opportunities. It will enhance services and allow for the further development of remote centres, with increased access to specialist support.

The broadband network will provide access to the patient record in the various care locations, support on-site procedures and allow consistent access to knowledge for all clinicians. Care will be provided using telemedicine and telecare techniques in a wide range of locations, for example, minor injuries units, enhanced general practices and diagnostic and treatment centres. This will relieve acute trusts and accident and emergency departments by taking on investigations, treatment for minor injuries and procedures such as some day-case surgeries.