A doctor with a pager

The NHS has been informed to cease utilizing pagers for communications by 2021, in an effort to lower your expenses.

The well being service nonetheless makes use of about 130,000 pagers, which is about 10% of the full left in use globally.

They price the NHS about £6.6m a 12 months, as a result of just one service supplier helps them.

Well being Secretary Matt Hancock referred to as them “outdated” and mentioned he needed to rid the NHS of “archaic know-how like pagers and fax machines”.

How do pagers work?

The pagers used within the NHS at this time are principally one-way communication units that may obtain quick messages however can’t ship replies.

To ship a message, workers name both an automatic telephone line or converse to a devoted operator.

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The NHS makes use of about 130,000 pagers

The recipient’s pager will beep and show the message or a telephone quantity to name. As a way to name again, the recipient should use a cell phone or discover a landline.

Pagers had been broadly used within the 1980s, earlier than cell phones and two-way SMS textual content messages turned extra fashionable.

Vodafone ended its nationwide pager service in March 2018. Capita’s PageOne is the final remaining pager community left within the UK.

Why does the NHS nonetheless use pagers?

One physician informed the BBC that the pager system is beneficial in emergencies, for instance if a affected person goes into cardiac arrest in a hospital.

Sending an alert to a number of members of the cardiac arrest crew can take lower than a minute, which is vital in an emergency scenario.

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Media captionRetro tech: When the pager was king

The pager community makes use of its personal transmitters, so messages are sometimes delivered reliably and rapidly.

NHS trusts will likely be allowed to maintain some pagers for emergency conditions, for instance if the wi-fi or cellular networks went offline.

However Mr Hancock mentioned “e-mail and cell phones” had been a “safer, faster and cheaper method to talk”.

“We have now to get the fundamentals proper, like having computer systems that work and eliminating archaic know-how like pagers and fax machines,” he mentioned.

In 2017, the West Suffolk NHS Basis Belief ran a trial and changed its pagers with an app referred to as Medic Bleep.

The app let workers message and name each other, individually or in teams, and labored on telephones, tablets and desktop computer systems.

The Division of Well being and Social Care described it as “much like WhatsApp” however with enhanced safety, and mentioned it had saved docs time.

The Belief is now “weeks away” from eradicating non-emergency pagers at its predominant hospital.

An investigation in 2018 discovered that the NHS was nonetheless sending paperwork from round 9,000 fax machines, which Mr Hancock additionally hopes to part out.