by Laurie Clarke

CDIO Richard Corbridge leads ‘Axe the Fax’ NHS modernisation initiative

Sep 18, 2018
IT Leadership

Chief Digital and Information Officer at Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, Richard Corbridge, is leading a newly launched campaign called  ‘Axe the Fax’, aiming to remove 95% of the Trust’s fax machines by January 1st 2019, after all machines and their purposes have been identified. They will then be replaced by more modern systems.

Corbridge commented: “We don’t underestimate the enormity of the challenge to remove all the machines in such a short time frame, but we simply cannot afford to continue living in the dark ages. The campaign aims to empower staff rather than disarm them and so far the feedback has been positive.

“Staff are recognising that on the one hand we have hugely innovative technology being implemented in the Trust and on the other we have technology that hasn’t existed for decades in other industries.”

There are currently 340 fax machines used by the trust, but 20 machines have already been ‘axed’. The move follows remarks made by the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, during a keynote speech in Manchester last week that outdated IT systems and processes (including fax machines) are “downright dangerous”.

In spite of this, a recent report highlighted the NHS as the world’s biggest purchaser of fax machines, with over 9,000 still in use across the health service.

What is set to replace them? Corbridge said: “The use of is far more secure and safe than the use of faxes. We are aiming to help services safely decommission their faxes and move to email in the first instance and take it from there.”

The campaign highlights the continued reliance across the NHS on antiquated methods, where more up to date, innovative means exist.

Much of the NHS is still heavily reliant on paper based systems, and the Axe the Fax initiative is just one element of the huge task that is dragging the health service into the modern day.