back to article Free Wi-Fi for the NHS, promises health secretary Jeremy Hunt

The NHS is apparently being given an early Christmas present of £1bn for free Wi-Fi across all hospitals, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said today. Cash is being made available from a £1bn to improve patchy Wi-Fi services in hospitals, he said. It claimed turning on free Wi-Fi access across the NHS estate could …

  1. Vimes

    How much of that wifi will require handing over personal details first and having the connection monitored so it could be filtered, even if you were never asked whether the filtering was wanted in the first place?

    On the rare occasions I've seen wifi in hospitals it has always been filtered and never has the option to switch the filtering off. I'd be interested to know the proposed standards behind what should happen with the filtering and what options - if any - people can expect to switch the filtering off.

    1. Tony S
      Big Brother

      @Vimes

      That did occur to me; but primarily because I immediately thought that they would be monitoring user activity and then trying to either flog the data to someone; or to use it to "sell" additional services.

      ("Hey Mr. Patient, I see you have been treated for cancer, why take up our additional bi-annual testing service to catch it if it returns; just £39.95 a month")

      Just because I'm cynical, doesn't mean the buggers haven't thought of this.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The NHS offers that testing for free but that won't stop companies trying to stick their oar in.

        The wi-fi on the chemo ward I was on was patchy during the day and usually fast enough to stream SD content in the night. Not a patch on the 4G dongle I brought with me though.

        Seriously ill patients won't be able to take advantage, it would be mostly the walking wounded or medical staff using tablets (or consoles in every room?). Unless untrained family members are suppose to be filling it in?

        Given the small novels hanging off the end of every bed on my ward the apps would have a long way to go before they replace the dead trees.

        Then there is all the security that will surround this and won't be slurrped by anyone ^^

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          To the thumb down, I'd be curious to know what you disagree with.

        2. geekguy

          The paperless office is a myth perpetuated by those who do not understand technology or the backup systems it requires.

    2. patrick_bateman

      Your just a complainer who jumps to their keyboard

      No person information is required.

      You are just a keyboard warrior that believes they have a point but no facts.

      Here at HHFT, we run Wifi Spark, a 3rd part managed wifi service.

      Yes there are filters, Yes you cant take them off. Do you want the man.woman sitting next to you in a waiting room to be watching porn on the hospital wifi??!?!?? I don't!

      To connect to our wifi, simply enable wifi on your device, select the Wifi Spark SSID, your device will then load a portal page where it asks for a name and email address, here you can type in anything you want I.e. me@me.com. IWontGiveyou@mename.com.

      The details are accepted and you are provided free (filtered wifi) so you can view you TV catchup, facebook, ebay, just no gabling, porn or illegal activity.

      So are we going to get credit, as our hospital payed for this before this money got handed out.

      people go on about filtered this and filtered that and how daire they monitor me.

      its not your home, you haven't payed for it

      This is to protect not only yourself but the people around you.

      Don't moan at something that's is being provided free to you simply because your too cheap to go buy a decent data plan or moaning that this and that isn't good enough.

      Do you realise how much patient care can be provided for £1BN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!???????? but nooo, you want your frekin unfiltered none monitor wifi

      tw@t

      1. johnfbw

        Re: Your just a complainer who jumps to their keyboard

        patrick_bateman

        Thank you for your advert for your company which ask users to step through additional pointless steps. How about you don't ask for user names and let people get onto your un-secured wifi quicker?

        1. patrick_bateman

          Re: Your just a complainer who jumps to their keyboard

          because at the end of the day, it comes down to legality. if you actively type something into a box you are aware you are doing it thus, if you start torrenting or porning and they end up blocking you then you complain, the 3rd party service which DOESNT PUSH ADDS ATALL can say be have blocked you because you have abused this free service, you knew about it, so thus your blocked.

          1. Vimes

            Re: Your just a complainer who jumps to their keyboard

            it comes down to legality

            I agree. And whatever the ISPs want us to believe filtering without consent is illegal.

            if you actively type something into a box you are aware you are doing it

            Checking a checkbox and clicking 'I agree' seems a lot simpler, but then I'm not the ones apparently more interested in harvesting email addresses than providing a clean interface.

            if you start torrenting or porning

            'Porning'. Interesting new verb there.

            In any case porn - regardless of whether it's wanted or not - is for the most part COMPLETELY LEGAL.

            1. Stuart 22

              Re: Your just a complainer who jumps to their keyboard

              "In any case porn - regardless of whether it's wanted or not - is for the most part COMPLETELY LEGAL."

              Filtering for illegality is good. Indeed the hospital should feel it an obligation. The hospital should implicitly be acting in loco parentis for minors so there is a case of applying adult only filters for the young. But the key words are in loco parentis. For adults it shouldn't apply. It is up to us to choose how we use this facility as we would at home subject to some reasonable limit on quantity.

              This is not the same as workplace or most other provisions. People are, mostly, involuntarily living in hospitals rather than at home. What they read, what they write and what they view on their tablets should be of no concern to the hospital. Only that it isn't an unreasonable burden on the public purse.

              It isn't the Nanny Health Service.

            2. patrick_bateman

              Re: Your just a complainer who jumps to their keyboard

              yer man, porning, like family guy said, doing a porn, innit lol

              the harvesting factor, not my issues, I have never typed my real email address into a system first off, always see what a fake one can do for you... its the naive and gullibility of 'normal users'

              whilst you are correct porn is legally allowed, when entering a hospital or other privately owned public area you as a person in that area agree to T&C's.

              i.e. we cant ever throw you out of a hospital, but you can be asked to leave, and with the police there;' escorted off site' if you are deemed to be causing issues for other staff.,

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

              2. ukgnome

                Re: Your just a complainer who jumps to their keyboard

                Oh dear dear patrick_bateman where or where to begin with your diatribe.

                I feel a few people may judge you harshly, and I am indeed one of them. You come across as 'one of those complainers that jumps to their keyboard' ready to spew forth your crap.

                You are a keyboard warrior that whilst seemingly presenting facts has managed not only to contradict themselves but also has become the person you wanted to have a go at. A free service is seldom free, and I am sure that you feel you have a valid point. But your analogy is at least as dumb as a shed full hammers. Any system that asks you to register, even with fake info is doing it for a reason. The paranoid among us will decry this is so they can track us.

                Clearly you are not technically minded, but that's OK because in these times you can simply turn to the fifteen year old sat next to you in A&E who happens to be watching porn and he will explain this all to you in a series of grunts that only a true ID ten T could understand.

              3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: Your just a complainer who jumps to their keyboard

                "its the naive and gullibility of 'normal users'"

                Or even the sick, vulnerable, elderly, mentally ill, many of which might well be your "customers", to whom the hospital has a duty of care.

        2. patrick_bateman

          Re: Your just a complainer who jumps to their keyboard

          I work for the NHS, not Wifi Spark :)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Your just a complainer who jumps to their keyboard

        I seriously hope I never have the misfortune of needing any hospital you work at!

        1. patrick_bateman

          Re: Your just a complainer who jumps to their keyboard

          Yes I am with you, think of all that extra patient care we could of provided if we didn't need to put this stupid patient wifi system in.

          ha! you make me laugh

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Your just a complainer who jumps to their keyboard

            "could of provided" "COULD'VE provided", please

      3. Stuart 22

        Re: Your just a complainer who jumps to their keyboard

        "Yes there are filters, Yes you cant take them off. Do you want the man.woman sitting next to you in a waiting room to be watching porn on the hospital wifi??!?!?? I don't!"

        Why do you care? For some (too many?) its the only sexual fulfilment they may get. Personally I find the average episode of Top Gear does more damage to the mind and planet but I wouldn't ban it.

        On the other hand it is quite reasonable to limit the quantities of both. If it is a public service paid by all of us then it is not unjust to stop the guys who claim a Terabyte or two per month is not enough to live on. So provide a reasonable service limited only in quantity and stop worrying about how people choose to use it. My hospital should not be my moral guardian.

        Well until one starts googling one's symptoms of course ;-)

      4. Vimes

        Re: Your just a complainer who jumps to their keyboard @patrick_bateman

        No person information is required.

        [...]

        To connect to our wifi, simply enable wifi on your device, select the Wifi Spark SSID, your device will then load a portal page where it asks for a name and email address

        ...which most people would just enter without questioning it.

        You don't see the contradiction there?

        1. patrick_bateman

          Re: Your just a complainer who jumps to their keyboard @patrick_bateman

          No contradiction, people are just gullible under the pretence of authority.

          a police officer asks for your name, you will give it.... yet if I am not in a car then I don't simply have to hand over that information.

          I cant answer for people who don't have common sense or how the world works now...

          again, you can type whatever you like in here, it will just accept it, thus no personal information

          hay , lets ask for the persons bank cards and their mothers maiden name,

          what pop band they like.

          they freely give this information over to google, facebook and alike...

      5. Captain Hogwash Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Your just a complainer who jumps to their keyboard

        I don't care about the man but, yes. Yes I do want the woman sitting next to me in the waiting room to be watching porn on the hospital wifi.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Your just a complainer who jumps to their keyboard

        Did you mean "you're"?

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Your just a complainer who jumps to their keyboard

        This is the sort of ham-fisted "Won't anyone think of the children?" attitude that I detest.

        I run a respected ratings site for horse racing and you are telling me that for my own protection I can't even log onto my own site?

        AC because I am not an advertising whore.

      8. BongoJoe
        Big Brother

        Re: Your just a complainer who jumps to their keyboard

        Will your censorship prevent patients looking up their symptoms and treatments, particularly images, if they have medical issues with their own genitalia?

      9. geekguy

        Re: Your just a complainer who jumps to their keyboard

        The simple fact is if you use a free wifi connection provided by someone other than yourself then you have to accept they have terms and conditions and filters in place, if you don't want that you simply don't have to use it or can use your own data connection such as 4g.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just hope

      It won't filter your name if it is Willie, Dick, Fanny etc.,

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Self-diagnosing or self-monitoring patients? Why not go the whole hog and give them the scalpel so they can perform their own surgery while there at it? After all, with free Wi-Fi they'll be able to google on how to do it themselves.

    I think most patients would rather the money was spent on, oh I don't know... more nurses, perhaps?

    1. Vimes

      I can't speak for others, but having some forms of entertainment in hospital - which wifi would also contribute to - is invaluable as a patient (kidney transplant in my case). For that matter it also means people stuck in hospital can talk to others without being charged exorbitant fees.

      The help that gives on a more mental & emotional level when it comes to stress is difficult to measure but trust me: it's there.

      Just because it can't be easily quantified doesn't necessarily mean it's without value.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That's what the new 13.3" laptop, 500gb HDD and 4G dongle was for but then I spent most of my time watched epic rap battles of history, cracked and how it should have ended on my phone.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I can't speak for others, but having some forms of entertainment in hospital ..."

        A book or an MP3 device of some kind fits the bill and was more than enough before the advent of the "I get withdrawal symptoms if I'm away from Facebook for more than 5 minutes" generation.

        1. Vimes

          A book or an MP3 device of some kind fits the bill

          And that would handle skype/whatsapp/<insert messaging app of choice here> how exactly? The telephones they provide are ludicrously expensive.

          1. Vic

            The telephones they provide are ludicrously expensive.

            That is, however, a problem of their own making. The NHS buys enough telephony that it would be cheap and simple to have some metered phones available to patients at cost/a small profit.

            But they don't; they get in the rip-off merchants. And now the country is going to spend £1B largely to counter that decison...

            Vic.

            1. Vimes

              But they don't; they get in the rip-off merchants. And now the country is going to spend £1B largely to counter that decison...

              Which is also a valid point to some degree, but even with cheap telephony I could still think of at least two good reasons to have wifi (checking my own results & entertainment both come to mind). Then there's also video calling which would not normally be covered either by any 'normal' phone service. For that matter general web access gives people ways of communicating with the outside world not possible over the phone. This thread here would be a good example of that.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Never heard of a mobile phone? They're all the rage these days...

            1. Vimes

              Never heard of a mobile phone?

              I just hope you're lucky enough to get a good reception if you're ever unlucky enough to be stuck in hospital. I certainly don't, at least in the part of the hospital where I spend most of my time.

        2. G28
          Thumb Down

          Farcical

          Yes, how dare people who are ill and stuck in hospital request anything like a choice in entertainment or methods for staying in touch with friends and relatives.

  3. Lyndon Hills 1

    Self-monitoring for patients

    Why stop there? Provide instructions for patients to perform their operations while you're at it.

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: Self-monitoring for patients

      Provide instructions for patients to perform their operations while you're at it.

      Brilliant: then any complaints about delay can be blamed on the patents.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Self-monitoring for patients

        "Brilliant: then any complaints about delay can be blamed on the patents."

        Oh FFS!!! Isn't trademarking smells and noises not enough? Now we're going to have patented operations too? Licensing fees will go through the roof!

        1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Re: patented operations too?

          Patents have already been granted for some medical procedures.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Self-monitoring for patients

      Provide instructions for patients to perform their operations while you're at it.

      Nah! just watch the video of your own operation...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Self-monitoring for patients

      Why indeed?

      Well my wife has a crippling rare disease that will, in all certainty shorten her life, but her medication and treatment has been improved since she was able to contact specialists from all over the globe who are familiar with her condition.

      The local NHS have no clue, nor have the consultants in the hospital two hours drive away. And the consultant in the specialist hospital in the next country (England) knows a little but has learned more from my wife via her interweb studies than he knew himself.

      Alas we can't go there any more due to cuts in the budgets because the management twats in the local NHS perhaps need more or bigger BMWs or something so we have to go to our local hospital to see a clueless consultant. And it then when we need all the information we can get so that we can train the consultants (yes, he on over £100k a year and knows sod-all), the local GP and then the local pharmacy to get the right drugs in the right quantities. Yes, we have to deal with the GPs too because they are the ones who sign the chits for the pharmacy to dish out and when they see the script from the consultant they get all nervous because of the type of drug and quantity needed and so they need to be trained by us too. And so it goes on to the pharmacy too.

      So yes, self-monitoring and self-diagnosis is required in this day and age when the funds for the NHS seem to go more towards useless management, paperwork (but not the patients' paperwork) and golf club fees.

      AC for obvious reasons.

  4. teebie

    £1bn

    That's enough money to pay 15 months of bursaries to student nurses to monitor patients, ignoring the amount of money you save by avoiding the perils of self-diagnosis

  5. Alister Silver badge

    Such a move would allow patients staying in hospital to self-monitor their conditions using apps and reduce admin time for doctors and nurses

    A difficult decision: spend 1bn on wages to employ doctors and nurses to provide proper care, or spend it on allowing patients to try and care for themselves instead.

    Hmmmm.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "spend 1bn on wages to employ doctors and nurses to provide proper care, or spend it on allowing patients to try and care for themselves instead."

      Well, obviously a billion spent on WiFi will last forever and not need any maintenance budget whereas actual real staff are an ongoing cost. That's just simple Government economics. See how easy it is?

    2. Naselus

      "A difficult decision: spend 1bn on wages to employ doctors and nurses to provide proper care, or spend it on allowing patients to try and care for themselves instead."

      Clearly, they've recognized that letting people try to treat themselves reduces patient numbers much, much faster than letting doctors do it.

  6. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Stop

    Silliest thing I've read in a long time

    Cash is being made available from a £1bn to improve patchy Wi-Fi services in hospitals, he said.

    It claimed turning on free Wi-Fi access across the NHS estate could significantly increase take up of online health tools.

    Such a move would allow patients staying in hospital to self-monitor their conditions using apps and reduce admin time for doctors and nurses, claimed the report.

    When you're in the hospital it's the NHS staff who are supposed to look after you, not Dr. Google.

    There's someone making money rolling out public wifi.

    Good job we're in this austerity drive together or it might be 2 billion.

    1. Vimes

      Re: Silliest thing I've read in a long time

      When you're in the hospital it's the NHS staff who are supposed to look after you, not Dr. Google.

      'Online health tools' probably includes tools they run themselves. I've already joined one such scheme to track my own blood test results, and given that doctors are not always available being able to check this sort of thing myself can sometimes be reassuring.

      1. Geoffrey W

        Re: Silliest thing I've read in a long time

        Online health tools you can use at home is great, but if you're already in the hospital awaiting blood test results then I see little worth in knowing the results before your doctors do. There's little you can do about it except worry - they already got their hands on you. I suppose it would allow you to see the actual results and double check what you are being told, but, still, doesn't seem a priority to me. Great to get WiFi in hospital but deal with it when all other priorities are dealt with first maybe

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Silliest thing I've read in a long time

        " I've already joined one such scheme to track my own blood test results"

        This means that the hospital's systems are linked to the network running the WiFi which is linked to the internet. So with a misconfigured router, or one with a security hole your blood tests are potentially accessible to the internet, and could potentially be deleted or changed from there. Doesn't this worry you a little?

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: Silliest thing I've read in a long time

          Deleted or changed? Almost certainly not.

          Read by anyone determined enough to try? Quite probably, given the general lackadaisical approach to online data security.

    2. geekguy

      Re: Silliest thing I've read in a long time

      I was in hospital for a prolonged stay this time last year. There was 0 wifi connection, this meant I had to pay for the expensive tv cards and browse on there. Those systems are ok, but it would have been a lot better for me to have my own device.

      It was folly to suggest it would aid the takeup of health tools it would have been more honest and equally as saleable to say it would increate the quality of patient experience. Even though I was ill and sleeping an awful lot of the day I still got board, and streaming some music or reading a paper would have been nice, perhaps getting a book down for the kindle. Hospitals already have private wifi staff use.. so to have the guest infrastructure is just sensible.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you are already at hospital then the online health tools are a bit pointless or am I missing something. Unless of course it's for tracking people. It'll probably be an app which requires world and dog permissions as usual.

    Who is going to supply this wonderful internet and isn't 1 billion a bit much? Also, what will this do to the Pay TV business in hospitals? Surely you would just take a tablet and watch what you want, it's not like they have many non-free channels anyway.

    1. BenR

      Hospital Pay TV services

      I have been reliably informed that, in order for hospitals to put in the exorbitantly expensive Pay TV services where you get a shitty lo-res TN TFT panel in a crappy shiny white plastic case on a broken arm dangling over your bed for only £35 quid for 5 days of non-premium free-to-air channels, they have to sign a contract stating they won't implement free patient wifi or other services. That's one of the reasons why the ward TV rooms have gone (also so the hospital isn't responsible for upkeep, servicing, etc. and to free up the space admittedly.)

      The deal being that the hospital gets all the kit installed for free for a lengthy period at no cost to the NHS, so the company involved can gouge patients silly should they want to watch a BBC show they've already paid for while they're unfortunate enough to be stuck in hospital. In return, the company ask the hospital doesn't provide any amenities or luxuries that a patient might want, such as TV or internet. This worked brilliantly when world+dog didn't have a smartphone and a 4G connection... and even better when mobile phones were still uncommon so you could charge though the nose for phonecalls too.

      Hospital Pay TV companies are the worst kind of scummy filth.

      1. phil dude
        WTF?

        Re: Hospital Pay TV services

        The profit incentive should be no where near hospitals...

        There are rarely good results when profit is possible with a captive population...

        P.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hospital Pay TV services

          I was in Hospital for 13 months and for most of that all there was was only the over bed EXPENSIVE. TV, Phone, internet (XP + i think IE6) help desk could not tell me if it was patched "for security reasons"

          Free WIFI did make a brief appearance but after a week someone in the bed opposite asked tech support who were around fixing a monitor how to connect to the "Hospital Name" Guest WIFI they said there isnt any and i was too late to shut him up :-( next day it was gone and didnt come back for over a year until the next financial year and i guess new contract by which time i had left and was back for a revision to original surgeries.

          Free WIFi is great for Patients helps keep spirits up keep in touch with the outside world etc even though filters stopped me looking up what drugs i was on and I couldn't buy Alcohol when online shopping,

          BUT it is not necessary and is a security nightmare if they (politicians) think that patients and staff should be on the same WIFI. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO it needs to be separate untrusted VLANS minimum!!!!!! If the WIFI is there and priority is given to staff Vlan and security is from the design stage then why not offer excess bandwidth to patients.

          Trust CEO's and Cabinet Ministers NEED TO Be made accountable and go to Jail if patient details are leaked by these digital tools or WIFI. DO NOT let the data be held by HSCIS and rolled up with Care.Data. electronic records across the NHS are a great idea FU**ed up by politicians. they NEED to be confidential and only used internally and for clinical decisions unless INFORMED consent is given by the patients on each case individually.!

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Franco Silver badge

    Leaving aside the obvious better uses of £1bn in the NHS, I'm sure what our long suffering Doctors and Nurses really need is patients questioning their treatment having looked up their symptoms on Wikipedia.

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Really does depend on the doctor and how up to date they are on the latest research, or indeed any research done since they qualified that wasn't presented with a nice champagne lunch from the sponsoring drug company.

      Only slightly tongue in cheek.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Only slightly tongue in cheek"

        Is there an operation for that?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It will link to the DIY NHS site...

    ..on how to treat your own festering wounds when actual staff are harder to find than the Dodo.

    1. John G Imrie

      I know exactly where to find a Dodo

      It's in the Natural History Museum.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "It will give patients and staff the ability to access the services they need as well as freeing up clinical time and reducing overall costs"

    Of course staff and public use will be separated won't it? Coz we're all happy with our medical information being readable to everyone with the WPA key yes?

    If not you'll be running two networks then. With staff using BYOD as well.

    They'll be fun. Especially when you probably outsource teh public side to O2 or something similar.

    It's all OFFICIAL I suppose.

    1. Vimes

      I've recently bought a new router that includes the functionality to set up multiple hotspots. It would appear to be possible therefore to use the same hardware to run two different hotspots with their own keys.

      As for hardware, I have yet to see a single doctor using their own laptop.

      1. patrick_bateman

        unless you are a high end consultant personal devices arnt allowed.

        smart phones are, but that's just for GOOD Enterprise.

        Consultants bring their Macs in, then go on about how they never have any issues...

        yeh as you just connecting to the private wifi side and then loading a TS up to a freeakin windows box to do all your work, so in theory there personal device still goes down when a network system goes down.

    2. Archaon

      You do know what a VLAN is, right...?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        VLAN on it's own isn't usually considered sufficient for separating data in different security domains (or business impact levels for the old guard).

        Patients and visitors are essentially untrusted Vs staff who are (in theory).

        VLAN + something else (802.1x etc) would be ok but adds to costs and complexity and somehow I doubt Hunt got much past "yeah wifi!" in his thinking.

        1. Archaon

          No, VLANs alone aren't enough, but the original AC seems to imply it's impossible to do without separated networks - which is not the case.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: VLANs @Archaon

            Given the vastly differing security levels of the two networks, it would be inadvisable not to use physically separate networks; unless the Cabinet Office and it's friends have changed their stance on such matters...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Dammed if they do, dammed if they don't.

    So you rather pay for the extortionate rates for the TV / Phone / movie services?

    Ever had someone in hospital long term that involves a 3 hour round trip, and getting there is on the off chance they MAY be conscious during visiting hours, when you could Skype them? Yes it's "nice" to visit. but arranging childcare, often overnight, then getting them to school is a really PITA (and that presumes it's not one of your kids in there)

    Or sat by their bedside for 12 hours, for the few times a day they are awake, with sod all else to do?

    So what if it's filtered? It's not there for downloading torrents, watching porn, downloading ISO's of the latest Linux kernal or checking out how to make a bomb.

    And yes, as for 2 networks, really it's not hard. One locked for Doctors etc, and the other open (even then device separation is not exactly hard).

    And finally, if you don't like the T&C's, then don't fucking use it.

    1. Vimes

      Re: Dammed if they do, dammed if they don't.

      You're assuming that the only things that should be filtered are filtered.

      This often isn't the case, and trying to get anything changed is just as much a PITA, with 3rd party (4th in this case?) list providers being blamed for any issues with the internet providers refusing to do anything about it themselves.

      And filtering often results in the sorts of data collection that can be quite invasive. From Wifi Spark's ToS page:

      WiFi SPARK collects information on your usage of this Service including web pages visited, domains and email traffic. WiFi SPARK will not disclose personal information collected in conjunction with the provision of this service to a third party without consent, except to companies with which we have contracted for the provision of the Service

      I'd be interested to hear how this can be accomplished without the sorts of tactics that are questionable to say the least. The term above also implies that they share your traffic with 3rd parties involved in the filtering. A lot of these are US based.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dammed if they do, dammed if they don't.

        The term above also implies that they share your traffic with 3rd parties involved in the filtering.

        Yes they most likely use someone like Bluecoat that does all the content filtering, and that's exactly what they do. All traffic is directed to them for filtering then passed on, just like most other content filters. Unless you expect some back room bod, to add several thousand sites a week to the list (trust me Squid + Dans Guardian would be no fun to run on a scale that large).

        1. Vimes

          Re: Dammed if they do, dammed if they don't.

          I wouldn't necessarily disagree with the need to share information further, but I would take exception to the idea that filtering itself is required. Most systems - and a quick check tells me that iOS is one of them - have built in parental controls that the parents ignore. Parents are giving children internet enabled gadgets when they neither know nor want to control them properly, and instead expect other people - notably the ISPs - to do that job for them.

          Putting aside for a moment the argument of whether or not the connection should be filtered though, shouldn't they be highlighting this data sharing a bit more at the point people are choosing whether or not to use the service?

          It's all very well saying that if you don't like the terms and conditions then don't use it, but some of the small print seems to require a magnifying glass, and that can't be right either.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As someone who works in IT in the NHS

    Staff already get challenged by those using google, patients already upload clips of consultations with doctors and other patients in the background, patients also already upload clips of injured patients or the elderly who have dementia without consent. This will simply increase and we'll have more clips of 80 year old women pissing themselves on Facebook thanks to this £1 billion being farted away.

    This is all about grabbing headlines, the real questions are- 1. what's the long term strategy for this additional wifi? If it's purely to give patients some entertainment then I can see some benefit in that, if it's to allow patients some interaction with their medical information, then I'd question whether some of that money is being spent on security and pen testing rather than just chucking wifi in.

    2. How much of that £1 billion will be coming back at a later date to upgrade this infrastructure, anyone planning that? We all know infrastructure doesn't last forever.

    3. Do NHS staff have to start helping patients connect their devices? Not all patients will be able to do it, want to start negotiations on an SLA Jezza?

    1. patrick_bateman

      Re: As someone who works in IT in the NHS

      2. None. that's for the next manager/project guy to work out, as you know they get there big project 'done' and move on then we have to deal with the fallout.

      3. so annoying, provide me with an iPad, android devise running each version, they I might be able to support your personal issues. the good old. you touched my phone and now my microwave doesn't work, bloody IT.

      People, a real hospital DOEST WORK HOW HOLBY BLOODY CITY DOES!!!!!

      1. Dr_N Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: As someone who works in IT in the NHS

        @patrick_bateman

        Is the spell-checker blocked on your system?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: As someone who works in IT in the NHS

          No, it's flitered. :-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As someone who works in IT in the NHS

      If it's purely to give patients some entertainment then I can see some benefit in that,

      But there's better uses for the money. Paying to train some doctors that actually speak recognisable English, perhaps? Training and properly supervising more nurses? Paying staff for the hours that they actually work, rather than relying on unpaid overtime to keep a poorly staffed, poorly managed system working? Paying for competent managers that can get my local hospital out of the dismal "special measures" status that NHS careerists have dragged it down to? Eliminating the need for me to pay "arm and f**ing leg" car park charges for a car park that I paid taxes to have built in the first place?

      Even after the idiots of government have wasted a billion quid on this, it won't work very well because it won't be possible to deliver the bandwidth to a group of several hundred people many of whom will want to stream different content simultaneously.

      That Jeremy Hunt is total and utter Jeremy Hunt.

  13. MT Field

    They would do better to ensure that all NHS businesses were obliged to provide sufficient and reasonably priced car parking for patients as well as stall.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Absolute douche

    Never before in the history of f*cktards has something so obviously stupid been suggested for something that needs other things first. Mr Hunt does it again. He really is the personification of a "clueless moron."

    Having worked in the NHS this is doomed to fail and sadly 1Billion will be nothing for what it provides when Private companies tender and then fail to bring to life. Just like medical care records and various other IT NHS ideas. Or worse when in fighting between the now many tiered NHS command structure (was 3, now 7 layers) start to argue over payment and who holds the software. CCG's afterall lose money to the hospitals...

    Patient records, support calls, interference with insulation on wards (which by their nature have massive electrical fields generated by magnets, electrical wires etc) anti hacking methods, self monitoring leading to legal enquiries, time wasted with doctors trying to explain what Google actually means with mr hypercondriac. Arguments caused by what a nurse thinks and what the app says? negative effects with a wrong app reading. Never mind the fact the NHS can't secure records if it tried, app issues with device compatibility, costs, security and malware riddled android / apple devices.

  15. MrRimmerSIR!

    Martha Lane Fox

    Taking the i out of MILF.

    Why does anybody listen to her?

  16. a_mu

    yet another promise to spend from goverment that costs them nothing

    so government promising to give free wifi

    So NHS will now have to up rate its IT infer structure to handle this extra bandwidth,

    and who will pay, not central government thats for certain,,,

  17. King Jack

    Totally free

    At my local hospital you just jump on to their Wi-Fi and start using it without any login nonsense. I don't know if it is filtered but I had no trouble watching TV on my phone for free rather than paying £5 for half and hour of their rip off tv service.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Newcastle trust have just changed the WiFi spark to be free for all users, when you connect, the webpage opens, you click on wifi, tick to agree to the terms and your connected.

    It uses the same infrastructure as the staff wifi and medical wifi, so that's three different subnets running on the same network (it's magical honestly). As a result the free wifi is lower down the pecking order for bandwidth, so the best time to use it will be evenings and weekends when the bulk of the non-clinical staff aren't using it.

    Yes it is filtered, but then considering that children and vulnerable adults will be using it, did you really expect full fat Internet with access to the tor network to be available (imagine the headlines about kids accessing porn and bomb making guides while waiting to fix their bones.

    1. Vimes

      did you really expect full fat Internet with access to the tor network to be available

      Ummm... Yes?

      As a 37 year old I think I'm clearly identifiable as an adult.

      As for 'bomb making guides' I suspect that would be illegal both in and out of hospital.

  19. Caledonian

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but this appears to be for NHS England only?

    I'm sure the devolved Governments of the UK will be really happy to hear that their block grants are getting slashed, but their taxes are being 'gifted' by Westminster for a vanity project which only benefits one part of the country.

    That's only a small part of this issue, the £1bn would be better spent on raising the salaries of hard working Paramedics/Nurses who are paid a pittence yet have increasingly demanding jobs.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      @Caledonian - There is nothing stopping the devolved assemblies deciding to shut up shop and return powers to Westminster... :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm sure the devolved Governments of the UK will be really happy to hear that their block grants are getting slashed, but their taxes are being 'gifted' by Westminster for a vanity project which only benefits one part of the country.

      So, to be clear, you want the rest of the nation to continue to pay to maintain the situation where Scots currently get significantly better funding for your health services than England (11% per capita, age adjusted, according to the Nuffield Trust), and you still want to tell the rest of us what our priorities should be?

      I agree there's far better ways to spend the money, but since haggis munchers currently benefit from an unfair allocation of health funds, maybe you should keep very quiet?

    3. x 7

      "Correct me if I'm wrong, but this appears to be for NHS England only?"

      If you want it in Scotland, then lobby your Scottish Parliament. They wanted fiscal independance, they got it.

    4. Archaon

      "Correct me if I'm wrong, but this appears to be for NHS England only?"

      Yes, this is NHS England. It's NHS England because NHS Scotland is devolved from the rest of the country and run by the Scottish Parliament. You get cheaper education and considerably higher public services spending - which is ultimately funded by the whole of the UK*. And yet you're actually surprised that after nearly 20 years of devolution Westminster have suddenly clocked on to that and decided to cut your grants?

      "Rarrrr they be taking our money below the wall rarrrr" is a little bit tenuous at the best of times, but complaining that something only benefits England when it's your own devolved government that took control of your NHS is a bit rich.

      That said, I completely agree the money should be spent elsewhere (wage increases, training, recruitment, actual medical equipment, more beds etc etc). I see enough wasted government IT spending in my role as it is. I would say free hospital WiFi is a good idea but it's really not worth £1bn of public money when there's so many other things to spend money on.

      * Including Scotland partially funding itself, of course. I'm not trying to suggest England pays for everything while everyone else sits back and relaxes. That would be complete rubbish. But the point is that, despite separate budgets, ultimately the money comes out of the same pot so any spending is saddled on all of us.

  20. Tubz
    FAIL

    Based on the current level of attention to detail medical staff give, going to be a lot of Facebook and Twitter updates from the wards and no much healing !

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The reality.

    I work in the NHS. The stuff I've read makes me chuckle. Some more stuff is just plain wrong. (I know, it might be that way in your organisation, but it is wrong!)

    Someone mentioned medical staff using personal hardware. Yup, they can use use it. But it can't connect to Hospital networks and systems until it complies with the regs. Some we use are set out below.

    Laptop HDs will be encrypted. Laptops will be protected by using a Hospital provided account with a complex password.

    Your personal phone will be managed by the Hospital. You will use a password to protect it. We reserve the right to wipe your device. You will be expected to accept these conditions or you don't come in. If the hospital provides you with a phone, you will pay for your personal calls. And we do monitor this.

    Your USB device will not work. If you need a USB stick we will provide one for you. It will be encrypted. There is no way around the encryption.

    We provide Wifi. We provide it for IP phones, staff using medical applications and the general public.

    The same hardware provides all three services. They are all isolated from each other. They all have different security to protect them and control access. Public WiFi uses a simple username/password combination. This changes monthly and is published within the hospital. Right now we don't actively monitor usage. That's not say we can't tie a MAC to a web page if we were asked to.

    The data protection rules we work to are fairly (very!) strict. Patient information is protected by even more rules, regulations and Information Governance (IG) guys who take this shit very seriously. Even with all the rules and guidance we still get it wrong sometimes.

    If Mr Hunt thinks it is easy to let the public use apps on personal devices to access hospital systems he must be clueless. (I know, I know.) Simply presenting patient data on a public network will have most IG guys heads exploding!

    As for funding, the money is from a technology fund. It doesn't come from the general NHS pot. But that's not to say the billion might be better put in that pot. It probably would, along with about 30 more billion.

    But that is a different story.

    And yes, anonymous for the obvious reasons.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The reality.

      I couldn't agree more. It's good to see someone talking/typing sense.

      I believe that the true thrust of this investment is to get WiFi in to hospitals that don't already have it. If this gives free guest wifi along with it, then all the better.

      A year ago, requests for money from the tech fund were not allowed for wifi, it was considered to be infrastructure that hospitals should provide themselves. I'm glad that money is being made available for hospitals without wifi already. If implemented well, the benefits of having results available on a tablet device to clinical staff are enormous.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The reality.

      Disclaimer Informed comment having worked in NHS IM&T, but several years ago. This might now be out of date.

      At the moment, NHS sites don't have an internet connection, as such. They have a N3 connection, which is a national VPN to other NHS sites, with a link to the internet with a bunch of nice, but obsessively paranoid chaps watching the data going through to prevent hacking attacks.

      It's now proposed to give literally the entire world access to an internet connection at NHS sites. Even if you treat this wifi as an untrusted LAN network with no access to anything but the WAN, this puts the wifi access to the "internet" on the inside of the N3. There are devices that can be discovered (digital X-ray machines, for instance) which offer their results via web page. As of my time in the NHS there were quite a few of these running XP etc, because manufacturers had gone out of business which basically means no updates for a multi million pound machine that should reasonably last another 20 years. The hospital running the system did have the system available via the N3, but not available on the internet which let GP's etc log in and view the scans without the security problems that you get by things being available online.

      This is now going to be directly available to the public, and hackers. Yay. How safe and responsible. I'm glad i'm not working in the NHS IM&T now, although the crisis meetings must be interesting.

      If the aim is to offer free internet access then it should be done by a separate ADSL line (not an N3!) especially for public access with no access to the NHS internal network. This however is a sideshow.

      I'm a First Aider, and occasionally end up taking people to A&E where I think it's warranted, but an ambulance is not required. Last time I did this (within a month ago) it was a non work related thing with somebody having something impaled through their hand. (don't ask) Non life threatening, but beyond what medical guidelines (and common sense!) say to do as a first aider, so off to A&E. Obviously, with somebody in shock you really need to be as close as possible when dropping the person off, which means using their car park. We spent just over 4 hours there (5 minutes over their maximum parking cost bracket, coincidentally...?) to parking costs of ~£20. NCP charge £4.50 for an entire day parking in the same town centre, for reference.

      Now, having dealt with facilities as well as IT at a SME with a hundred staff I happen to know for a fact that the lease for a coffee machine on a 5 year basis is available at a relatively low monthly cost. The company leasing a machine to us came and restocked it and did maintenance on the machine at a cost of (IIRC) 8p per hot drink, and 4p for cold drinks(orange/lemon&lime squash IIRC). We initially charged 10p for everything, before doing hot drinks at 20p and the cold ones free. Despite the obvious number of people going for cold drinks being somewhat higher, this covered the cost of the lease and made about a hundred quid profit a month. I note all of this because A&E had one of these machines as the only option for refreshments available, without the option to dispense water freely, which I happen to know for a fact is one of the default options which costs nothing but some wear on the water filter. A&E were charging £1.50 per drink from their machine for either hot or cold drinks, which as mentioned was the only refreshment available, and as noted above we were there for four hours. The term "profiteering" comes to mind when you know the economics!

      Before buggering around with luxuries like wifi that have serious security implications that the esteemed minister hasn't even considered, perhaps some attention could be paid to basics. Parking costs should be reduced to no more than the average parking in the area, since it's literally unavoidable to use it in many cases, followed closely by the prices of food and drink for the public falling to the same level as provided in the (NHS staff) hospital canteen. Once both of those are dealt with then perhaps we could then look at free wifi, followed by considering public access in a safe and secure manner to medical resources on the NHS internal network.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The reality.

        I think you've gone from 0 to tin foil hatted Daily Mail reader in 60 seconds there.

        If your experience with NHS IT is that they would think nothing of dropping guest WiFi straight onto their own internal network then I'd love to know where it was you worked so that I can avoid ever going there.

        Lots of NHS organisations have internet connections now, along with their N3 connection. While N3 is excellent for cross organisation communication within the NHS, it's not a VPN and shouldn't be assumed to be 'secure'.

        However, it's not exactly flexible for allowing inbound traffic from the internet, and rightly so. If you want remote working on your own terms then an internet connection, properly secured and penetration tested, is absolutely essential.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The reality.

          My personal experience is that it wouldn't be considered and giving a member of the public that sort of access is grounds for summary dismissal.

          My concern is based on a direct quote of Mr Hunt's announcement that:-

          “It will give patients and staff the ability to access the services they need as well as freeing up clinical time and reducing overall costs.”

          Respectfully, I think that interpreting that sentence as "We will give the public access to read the news/watch TV online" is a far greater leap in creative interpretation than "We will give patients and staff the ability to access NHS services via free wifi in NHS buildings to free up clinical time to reduce overall costs."

          I struggle to see how you can interpret his announcement in any other way than a commitment to give the public access to resources that were previously unavailable externally. If your not doing, where are the cost savings coming from? And if he is planning on doing this, does it not involve exposing things that were not designed (or expected) to be publicly assessable to the public?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The reality.

        'Disclaimer Informed comment having worked in NHS IM&T, but several years ago. This might now be out of date.'

        Yup it is. And on many levels. I'm certainly not going to go into details of how we provision and configure our network. But rest assured, we have ensured guest and Hospital are separate. Assuming we will provision Guest wireless over N3 is crazy. Clue, we do have internet as well as N3 (which is not a VPN).

        Before I go on, my disclaimer, I don't always agree with all the decisions and policies handed down by my employer. Now I've got that out of the way.

        Your parking rants, well staff here pay for the privilege of a parking permit. We have sold more permits than parking slots. You pays your money and takes your chances. Other parking options, there isn't anywhere near. Public roads are Policed and non residents ticketed.

        We do take cash off patients and visitors. But given the above, they are in effect a captive market.

        Food, staff use the same machines and canteen facilities as the public. My massive discounts don't apply in every outlet in the hospital. Where I do get a discount I get 10p off a 2 quid cup of coffee and 25p off a meal. And that’s if the canteen/café/food bar is open. (But we can get a Pizza delivered when it's not. And Pizza Tony gives me a bigger NHS discount!)

        For years people said the NHS should be run as a business, now it is.

        Enjoy.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The reality.

          I think your missing the point.

          At the moment usable medical IT resources such as X-Ray machine results are only accessible locally on the LAN or via N3 for GP sites etc.

          The Health Minister has decreed that both staff and public are going to access health resources via wifi. In order to do this, the entire network architecture is going to have to change. Radically.

  22. ukgnome
    Big Brother

    This is how they start the thought control experiments.

  23. IvoryT

    Not wifi, nurses

    UK News this morning: 90% of NHS hospitals are unable to recruit enough nursing staff to reach minimum staffing levels on the wards.

    Is this the Government response? £1Bn for wifi so patients can self-monitor their health using Apps?

    What does this even mean? Say you are in hospital with pneumonia, cholecystitis, heart-failure, diabetic keto-acidosis, a stroke, peripheral vascular disease, appendicitis, etc etc. What the heck are you supposed to monitor with these "Apps" and in what way on earth is that supposed to feed into the medical care you are getting?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does the wifi work whilst bed ridden and waiting in the corridor for hours for operations?

  25. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Hunt the Cunt

    Yes, I know it's cheap but if the cap fits… and it does so obviously here

    Everyone using the NHS expects it to be a world leader in digital healthcare

    I think that should be something like

    Everyone using the NHS expects it to be a world leader in digital healthcare

    Patient care and total quality approaches such as those practised at the Queen Elizabeth in Birmingham are so much more important than public wifi. Hospitals need to have their own IT running properly and safely first.

    Safe, large-scale wireless networks are a total bugger to setup properly. A friend of mine who does work on hospital IT recently spent a whole week on a training course at Cisco on how to set up hospital wifi that wasn't going to be hacked the second it went live. You simply can't do this with the commodity gear that the cheapo companies tend to use.

    And, at the end of the day, competition and technology are continuing to drive down costs so that people should be able to use their own data connections in most parts of the hostiple. This also nicely solves any possible problems of liability Put Faraday cages up in all the sensitive bits: do this in open areas so that you can charge a premium for sub-standard services (like American hotels have been doing) and you can expect similar law suits.

    And if anyone is unfortunate enough to come close to the current Wanker of Health then give hime a smack from me. And that silly moo MLF!

    1. Vic

      Re: Hunt the Cunt

      if the cap fits… and it does so obviously here

      Jamies Naughtie's on-air fuck-up is one of the funniest thing I've heard in years...

      Vic.

  26. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Doctor, I've just read in the online Daily Mail that there's a new treatment I should be getting that you are deliberately withholding, and the hospital food is infected, and my saline drip causes cancer ...

  27. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge

    My phone seems to be able to browse the internet perfectly well without wifi, Unless I'm in a basement.

  28. x 7

    I think you'll find the main thrust of this is WiFi in GP surgeries....such as this offering

    http://www.egton.net/practice-wifi/

    as for the "apps" these will simply be online ways of accessing your medical records, requesting prescriptions, obtaining test reports. Many GPs already provide these through extensions of their Clinical systems

  29. David Roberts Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Too much comment on too little information?

    Bugger all information in the Reg article.

    The Guardian was slightly more forthcoming and carried the implication that this was a two pronged exercise; get all hospitals equipped with WiFi and also allow public access.

    One thing I picked up from the Grauniad was that there was an idea that this would enable monitoring of diabetics to reduce the high incidence of hypoglycaemia during hospital stays. [Special interest as a T2 diabetic.] I would be interested to know how they propose to do this. WiFi enabled constant blood glucose monitoring (the cost of which would dwarf the WiFi provision) or just an app on the phone with a big red button to press when the drug round has given you your Insulin but the food trolley is two hours late?

    I do think that free WiFi in hospitals is a very good thing, enabling all sorts of minor but important interactions such as out patients liasing with friends/family/transport and inpatients having email, news, and most importantly free access to El Reg.

    Didn't read the words "and ongoing maintenance" anywhere, though.

    TL;DR - publicity stunt from a one off external budget.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a bunch of tw@ts

    I have never read such a load of crap on here, so the NHS shouldn't block porn. What world do you live in? Does your employer allow you to watch porn at work? Assuming that some of you are employed, judging by some of the spelling and grammar, I guess not.

    It is an employers duty to protect their employers from harassment this includes being subject to offensive language or anything else that might offend. If you hadn't noticed the NHS does have employees mixing with patients.

    Secondly by the NHS offering free internet access they will effectively become an ISP and therefore will soon be required to capture what people are looking at in any case.

    I don't know who in the government thought it was a good idea to run with this, someone I am guessing thank thinks to put in wi-fi AP's you just screw them to the walls, they are wireless after all. You don't need a large internet connection (they have promised video streaming), don't need any cabling, don't need POE switches etc etc

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: What a bunch of tw@ts

      It's not about filtering: it's about the waste of resources trying to set up and manage public wifi networks. If you do set them up, worrying about content filtering is probably the least of your worries.

    2. Archaon
      Headmaster

      Re: What a bunch of tw@ts

      "Assuming that some of you are employed, judging by some of the spelling and grammar, I guess not."

      Clearly you're so gainfully employed that you have time to criticise but not enough time to practice what you preach. None of us are perfect, we all make typos, but if you're going to whine about it at least write the remainder of your post correctly!

      "It is an employers duty to protect their employers from harassment this includes being subject to offensive language or anything else that might offend. If you hadn't noticed the NHS does have employees mixing with patients."

      Instead try -

      "It is an employer's duty to protect their employees from harassment; this includes being subjected to offensive language or anything else that might offend. If you hadn't noticed the NHS does have employees mixing with patients."

      Also -

      "someone I am guessing thank thinks" - Wait, wut?

      1. gh4662

        Re: What a bunch of tw@ts

        "Clearly you're so gainfully employed that you have time to criticise but not enough time to practice what you preach!"

        I am gainfully employed, which is why I posted this out of work time, and this comment in my lunch break :)

        A lot of hospitals had signed up for 10 year contracts with the Hospicom type systems where patients are fleeced to watch TV and as someone had mentioned there are contractual T&C's about not offering competing services.... this is just another mess that Jeremy Hunt has thought would boost the morale of patients... am sure more patients would prefer free parking.

  31. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    pissing. in. the. wind.

  32. wabbit02
    FAIL

    somewhat bemused... Sky, Telefonica and BT will all offer "free" WiFi as part of the bundle to capture the corporate (main hospital) data transmission. The only reason I can see this money being used is roll-out of AP's which are then connected by one of these providers.

    Personally I would rather the NHS negotiate a decent contract, suffer a few adds and registration and use the money to make sure I receive better care.

  33. AbstPoolAuto

    Someone may have mentioned this already but..

    It isn't free, the product is you and the browsing habits plus the contact info are what make it worthwhile as advertising fodder. Even if you use dummy details the browsing history is enough to target adverts at next person along as it can be used to set trending for the service. I suspect WebMD gets hit a lot after every consultant visit! :)

    You also don't even need to register on the WIFI for your device to generate useful info. Using the Wireless APs it is possible to triangulate the location of ALL devices that are broadcasting for a connection so you can determine the flow of people and traffic around the physical building which has to be useful for building planners and hospital management

  34. Alex Bailey
    Devil

    Free? Phah!

    On the one hand it's about time. I've been pretty pissed off over the years at having to pay fees to use hospital phones and TV's, being told by hospital staff that handheld TV's are not permitted because the deal with the in-house TV provider did not permit it and that mobiles had to be turned off at all times.

    On the other hand it's been a long time since I've seen truly free WiFi in the UK since every one insists on you handing over your email address at the very least. I wonder how much of the Spam I get on a daily basis can be attributed to the odd occasion that I've had little choice but to do so.

    And that's before they start to apply nanny-filters to everybody.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Free? Phah!

      "handheld TV's are not permitted because the deal with the in-house TV provider did not permit it"

      Quick response to that "Not my problem, I'm not a party to that deal,".

  35. JohnMurray

    As I wander around Papworth NHS my tablet is connected to the free wifi patients have access to. No sign-in. Several staff channels are available, secure sign-in is active. And at least three channels for equipment.....

    Obviously they were taking hunts advice over a year ago.......

    Or maybe he is still talking out of his solid excreta channel?

    Oh, catch-up is available. But dinotube seems to be disabled. Oh well, with the canulas' inserted wanking will be a rattley affair anyway.

  36. Fullbeem

    Guessing the streaming of BBC iPlayer/Mobdro will be blocked

  37. Tubz
    FAIL

    Waiting For The White Washed Public Inquiry In To It's Failings

    Let me translate the important points ..

    Allow patients staying in hospital to self-monitor their conditions - we can cut the number of ward staff, as any numpty on minimum wage can monitor a bank of screens showing patient status and hit a panic button.

    Reduce admin time for doctors and nurses - cut number of ward staff, as we all know government I.T projects create lots of white space in time and motion studies or more time for staff to interface with the community via social media, in plain English, sit on backside Tweeting and Facebooking. MAke it easier for us to sell off your data to big business if in a nice fat unsecure database.

    Free wifi - have some tax payer's money to give away to Tory mates in big business, on an over priced, underperforming and useless vanity project.

    Am I cynical or just seeing the big picture, in the real world.

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