Funding boost will put GP surgeries in Uttlesford in the fast lane

PUBLISHED: 07:40 05 June 2019 | UPDATED: 07:40 05 June 2019

Broadband boost for GP surgeries in Essex.

Broadband boost for GP surgeries in Essex.

Archant

GP surgeries across Uttlesford have been handed a £2.1million boost that will allow them to upgrade to ultrafast broadband.

Some 15 surgeries in the district will benefit as part of a joint bid made to Government made by West Essex and East Hertfordshire Digital Innovation Zone and Superfast Essex.

The bid was backed by Saffron Walden MP Kemi Badenoch, who lobbied Government on behalf of the bid team.

In total, 113 surgeries across the region will be connected.

Mrs Badenoch said: "I promised constituents that I would lobby hard to see this project come to fruition, so it is fantastic news to hear that the hard work has paid off.

"The money will mean that GP sites in places like Elsenham, Great Chesterford and Thaxted will be at the forefront of digital innovation within the NHS.

"Local residents will have access to new digital services such as online consultations. This will ensure that communities across the constituency will continue to receive the very best healthcare available.

"Congratulations to Councillor Alan Lion at the Digital Innovation Zone and Connie Kerbst at Superfast Essex for their work on this."

The project will connect a total 113 GP practices, an estimated 680 homes and help around 8,000 more people get superfast broadband across the Broxbourne, East Hertfordshire, Epping Forest, Harlow and Uttlesford.

Dr Gary Howsam, Royal College of GPs spokesman for the East of England, said: "GPs and our teams have been pioneers in implementing technology in the best interests of patient care, but currently around 80 per cent of surgeries are using outdated IT systems that are simply unsuitable to deliver some of the services our patients need and expect.

"Some surgeries still rely on fax machines to communicate across the NHS because they are often more reliable than more hi-tech options - and our members regularly report stories of computers crashing during clinic, wasting precious minutes with patients and increasing waiting times for others.

"The college's tech 'manifesto' called on the Government to get the basics of NHS IT right before investing in more advanced AI, digital medicine, and robotics, so that the UK can truly be a leader in health technology. As a result, we welcomed the Department of Health and Social Care's pledge to ensure access to high-speed fibreoptic broadband for around 70 per cent of GP practices by 2020."

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