The NHS will be banned from buying fax machines from 2019 – because apparently they’re “old and outdated”.
Due to high levels of computer illiteracy within the public sector there are fears the ban will simply drive sales onto the black market with ‘under the counter’ fax machines being sold in hospital branches of WHSmith.
The Royal College of Surgeons revealed that nearly 9,000 fax machines were in use across the NHS in England.
One South London NHS trust has admitted having spent 40% of their budget last year on fax machines – but insisted this was all a part of their efforts at modernisation, as they move away from using cups tied together with string, the latter being deemed a trip hazard.
Fax Machines are currently central to the operation of many NHS trusts.
The machines play a fundamental role in surgery – with requests to ‘pass the scalpel’ or ‘apply pressure’ always sent via fax.
Surgeons say this method of communication ensures messages are relayed without ambiguity as verbal cues tend to be muffled by surgical masks; the misinterpretation that follows often has terrible consequences.
One consultant recalled asking an assistant, ‘Did you just fart?’ on a day when the fax machine happened to be out of order. They responded by immediately removing the patient’s heart.
The Department of Health now says that a change to more modern communication methods is needed to improve cyber security.
Attempts to modernise NHS facilities aren’t going very well. Staff frequently complain that the dial up modems take ages to connect and that being on the internet prevents paramedics phoning in to state their ETA.
Older members of staff have expressed genuine bafflement as to how large filing cabinets will ever fit down those little wires.
A survey found that the use of fax machines was most common at the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Trust.
As a general rule fax machine usage increases the further north you go. This is to combat the safety concerns associated with incomprehensible accents. NHS Scotland have stated that they fully expect to still be using faxes in 2137.
Three-quarters of the trusts in England replied to the survey.
Ironically, the quarter that didn’t respond were the ones without fax machines. They attempted to email a reply but they forgot their password, then they didn’t know which button to press, then they spent ages typing with one finger before accidentally losing their work and ooh isn’t it complicated not like in my day.