A recent Senedd committee meeting revealed that fax machines are still used in NHS Wales, sparking discussions on their continued relevance in modern healthcare. A top doctor’s plea for no more fax machines and the purchase of one for a new hospital prompted surprise from some, including Plaid Cymru’s health spokesperson, Rhun ap Iorwerth. He tweeted in Welsh, “What century is this?”
Dr. Karl Davies questioned why GPs fax referrals into the emergency unit instead of emailing. “I never see it… I can’t deal with the emergency information if it doesn’t get to me.”
In contrast to England’s NHS, which was told to stop buying fax machines in 2019, Wales’ NHS still has around a thousand. Senedd Member for Ynys Môn, Mr. ap Iorwerth, called the situation “ridiculous,” advocating for immediate phasing out of the technology.
He humorously noted that news outlets might need to explain what a fax machine is, emphasizing that hospitals should not rely on this form of communication, especially for emergencies.
This unexpected conversation around fax machines within the NHS in Wales highlights how certain technologies maintain a role, even as new advancements emerge.