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New Wi-Fi service keeps patients connected

More local hospital patients, visitors and staff are benefiting from a new Wi-Fi service which is allowing them to stay connected with friends and family, access entertainment and manage their everyday lives whenever they are in hospital.

Already live at South East Regional Hospital and Goulburn Base Hospital, the Wi-Fi service has been introduced at a further 11 Southern NSW Local Health District facilities in partnership with eHealth NSW.

In the first month of implementation, more than 500 patients and guests took advantage of the Wi-Fi service, using it mostly for video communication such as Skype, streaming music and videos and social media. All appropriate internet security filters are in place.

“Giving access to Wi-Fi has enhanced the care we can provide in the unit and made such a difference to patients and visitors,” Southern NSW Local Health District Acting Chief Executive Jude Constable said.

“Many of our patients are here for a large portion of their day while they receive treatment. Internet access means they can pass the time quickly browsing the web, connecting on social media or watching movies via streaming services.

“It also provides a great distraction from their treatment and they can do normal things like pay bills, shop online or keep up with work,” Ms Constable said.

Supported by Hills Health Solutions, the Wi-Fi system has a free and paid service, with the paid option better for activities requiring faster download speeds such as gaming or Netflix.

“Access to Wi-Fi and the internet has become an essential part of everyday life, be it in our homes, schools, shopping centres and even on aeroplanes. So why not have the internet in hospitals?” said Jason Matthews, Unified Conference, Collaboration and Wireless Program Manager for eHealth NSW, a specialist government agency that delivers information and communications technology solutions across the public health system.

The Wi-Fi service has been made possible by a $20-million injection of State funds for Wi-Fi in hospitals and eHealth NSW’s work on building the Health Wide Area Network (HWAN).  Meanwhile the service further adds to the extensive investment by the NSW Government in a number of facilities across the District.

This includes $150 million for the Goulburn Health Service, $18.6 million committed to refurbishing Cooma District Hospital, $150 million allocated to building a new health facility in the Eurobodalla, $2.6 million been committed to refurbishing Crookwell District Hospital, while funding for the Braidwood MultiPurpose Service (MPS) redevelopment is coming from the $300-million State-wide program of works to upgrade MPS facilities in a number of rural and remote communities across NSW.

The 2019- 20 budget for Southern New South Wales Local Health District is $434 million, this is an increase of $13 million on the previous financial year’s annualised budget.

Contact: Karen Fontaine, Communications Lead, eHealth NSW / 0417 169 974

Last updated: 29 October 2019