The NHS has said to hit "outdated" pagerages


A doctor with a pager

The NHS has been told to stop using communications pads by 2021 in order to save money.

The health service continues to use about 130,000 pagers, which is about 10% of all worldwide disinfestations.

The cost of the NHS costs about £ 6.6 million a year, because it only supports one service provider.

Health Minister Matt Hancock described them as "outdated" and said he wanted to get rid of the NHS "archaic technology such as pagers and fax machines."

How do pagers work?

PADs currently used in the NHS are mainly unidirectional communication devices that can receive short messages but can not send replies.

To send a message, staff call either an automated phone line or speak to an exclusive operator.

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The NHS employs approximately 130,000 pagers

The recipient's Paging will talk and display the message or a phone number for a call. To call back, the recipient must use a cell phone or find a fixed telephone.

Paggers were widely used in the 80s, while cell phones and two-way SMS messages became more popular.

Vodafone ended its national paging service in March 2018. Captain's PageOne is the last remaining pager network left in the UK.

Why is it still using NHS pagers?

A doctor told the BBC that the paging system is useful in emergency situations, for example if a patient goes to a cardiac arrest in a hospital.

Sending an alert to several members of the cardiac arrest group may take less than a minute, which is critical in an emergency.

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Media sub-paragraphRetro technology: When the pager was king

The paging network uses its own transmitters, so messages are usually provided reliably and quickly.

NHS fiduciary companies will be allowed to keep some emergency alerts, for example if wi-fi or mobile networks are offline.

However, Mr Hancock said "e-mail and mobile phones" was "a safer, faster and cheaper way of communication."

"We need to have the basics, like having computers running and getting rid of archaic technology such as pagers and fax machines," he said.

In 2017, the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust ran a test and replaced the pagers with an application called Medic Bleep.

The application sent the staff message and was called to each other, individually or in groups, and worked on phones, tablets and desktops.

The Ministry of Health and Social Care described it as "similar to WhatsApp" but with enhanced safety, and said it had saved doctors' time.

The Trust is now "away for weeks" by removing the non-emergency pager at the main hospital.

A survey in 2018 found that the NHS was still sending documents from around 9,000 fax machines, which Mr Hancock also hopes to stop.


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