NHS to end use of fax machines

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Fax machines to be replaced in bid to modernise NHS and improve data security

 14 February 2019


NHS Supply Chain has confirmed that it is no longer providing fax machines to the health service in a bid to improve data security and encourage investment in new technology.

The original directive came from Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock, with the aim of modernising the health service and making it easier for NHS organisations to introduce innovative technologies. Ultimately this will mean a better service for patients and more efficient and secure processes for staff.

The Secretary of State said, “Because I love the NHS, I want to bring it into the 21st century and use the very best technology available. We’ve got to get the basics right, like having computers that work and getting rid of the archaic fax machines still used across the NHS when everywhere else got rid of them years ago.

“I am instructing the NHS to stop buying fax machines and I’m setting a deadline for getting rid of them altogether. Email is much more secure and miles more effective than fax machines. The NHS can be the best in the world – and we can start with getting rid of fax machines.”

As part of the ‘Future of Healthcare’ vision, NHS organisations will be required to use modern communication methods, such as secure email, to improve patient safety and cyber security. Trusts were given notice of the withdrawal of fax machines in early December, and the machines and consumables were delisted on 28 January by NHS Supply Chain. Trusts will be expected to discontinue their use altogether by 31 March 2020.

Supply Chain Chief Operating Officer Alan Wain said, “All fax machines and associated consumables have been removed from our NHS Supply Chain catalogue. New technology is playing an increasing role in healthcare and we are helping to ensure that the NHS is using the best way to communicate patient information as part of these developments.”




Media enquiries:
Jennie Brice
07714 043391

Joanna Morrison
07776 457201


 Notes to editors

 About NHS Supply Chain

All information in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

 NHS Supply Chain supports the National Health Service and other healthcare organisations in England and Wales by providing end to end supply chain solutions.

NHS Supply Chain is managed by Supply Chain Co-ordination Ltd, a limited company wholly owned by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. The management function went live on 1 April 2018 and manages the performance of the 11 category tower service providers along with the logistics and IT providers.

NHS Supply Chain manages the sourcing, delivery and supply of healthcare products and food for NHS trusts and healthcare organisations. It provides a single point of access to over 316,000 nationally available, transactable lines ranging from bandages to sutures, from gloves to implants, and surgical equipment. In addition, it can help plan investments in medical capital equipment such as MRI scanners, linear accelerators and patient monitors.

Its management of the procurement process negates an NHS organisation’s need to tender through the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). Costs can also be reduced through its one-route solution that consolidates all products onto one invoice and delivery.

To ensure that its products are fit for today’s healthcare market, NHS Supply Chain works with suppliers of all sizes to ensure its range embraces high quality and innovative products; and engages with clinicians, the Department of Health and Social Care and academic institutions to make sure that it is aware of the current requirements and latest developments in clinical practice.

NHS Supply Chain’s product areas include:

  • Ward based Consumables
  • Sterile Intervention Equipment and Associated Consumables
  • Infection Control and Wound Care
  • Orthopaedics, Trauma and Spine and Ophthalmology
  • Rehabilitation, Disabled Services, Women’s Health and Associated Consumables
  • Cardiovascular, Radiology, Endoscopy, Audiology and Pain Management
  • Large Diagnostic Capital Equipment including Mobile and Services
  • Diagnostic, Pathology and Therapy Technologies and Services
  • Office Solutions
  • Catering, including food
  • Hotel services