PLAID Cymru health spokesperson, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, has called for fax machines to be phased out from NHS Wales with immediate effect.
The call follows the revelation in a Senedd Committee 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, Mr 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?)
Dr Karl Davies speaking at the Health and Social Care Committee 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 NHS in England has not been allowed to buy fax machines since January 2019.
Rhun ap Iorwerth MS 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“It’s ridiculous, in this day and age that a new Welsh hospital has had to buy a fax machine so that it can follow outdated processes still used in parts of the NHS.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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