RCGP welcomes government commitment of high-speed fibreoptic broadband for every GP practice

Publication date: 01 May 2019

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "We are incredibly encouraged to hear of Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock's commitment to ensure all GP surgeries will be equipped with very high speed broadband via fibre optic cable to the premises as soon as possible, with around 70% by 2020 – this is one of the key calls in our Technology Manifesto, launched today.

"We want the NHS to be a world leader in innovation in technology and GPs are ready to embrace AI, digital medicine and robotics, all of which have huge potential to revolutionise care – but any innovation must be proven to be safe for patients, and aim to alleviate pressures across our health service.

"Our current technology systems are not where we need them to be and we need to concentrate on the basics first. Some GP practices are still reliant on old-fashioned fax machines, we hear repeated stories from members about GP IT systems crashing numerous times a day, and some estimates suggest that 80% of practices are currently using outdated IT systems that are not suitable for the demands of future care.

"Our manifesto calls on the government to first help us get the basics right, and this promise for high quality broadband across all general practice is welcomed as the promising start of major change and innovation across the NHS.

"These improvements will allow GPs faster access to test results and patient records and help connectivity with wider NHS systems. Improved broadband speeds will also allow for more streamlined email communication and video calls; and help patients make appointments quickly and easily – but delivering it will be a significant challenge, so we look forward to hearing about NHSX's plans as to how they will deliver this.

"This announcement is great news for the profession and for patients as it will help us improve levels of care and offer family doctors more of the resources needed to help them do their jobs. As such, we will work with the Department of Health and Social Care to ensure full delivery of this broadband commitment in all areas where it is so desperately needed."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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