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NHS ordered to stop using fax machines

(Image credit: Image Credit: KlausAires / Pixabay)

As of January next year, the National Health Service (NHS) will no longer be able to buy fax machines, with the technology set to be completely phased out of use by 2020, the government has said.

The NHS has been ordered to get rid of its fax devices, and advised that they be replaced by email. The Royal College of Surgeons agrees, with chair Richard Kerr saying using it in 2019 was “absurd”.

Instead, the NHS should invest in "better ways of communicating the vast amount of patient information that is going to be generated" in the future.

According to the BBC (opens in new tab), most health practitioners agree with the idea, calling fax machines not only outdated, but also a security risk. Apparently, faxes are a waste of time, especially when they get sent to the wrong address. And that happens more often than you’d think.

Besides praising the idea of purging fax machines from the NHS, some health practitioners would love to see this going a step further, adding more contemporary technology to the mix.

However, not everyone agrees with the idea. Some believe fax machines and other ‘outdated’ tech can save the day when outages and cyberattacks occur.

"During the WannaCry attack of 2017 our 'out-dated, redundant' piece of equipment ensured that blood products, not routinely held in our on-site blood bank, could be ordered without delay and therefore not compromising patient safety,” one person said.

Image Credit: KlausAires / Pixabay

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.