Wireless internet and self check-in come to Leeds hospitals

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Hi-tech hospitals in Leeds are set to install airport-style check-in desks for patients.

Wireless internet access will also be available throughout Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust by next summer.

The moves are among a series of initiatives to install the latest technology in the city’s hospitals.

That includes a £1.9m digital dictation system which has now been brought in to nearly all departments.

When doctors record correspondence onto a tape, instead of a secretary transcribing it, speech recognition software is used.

The letters are double-checked by secretaries and doctors after they have been created.

Hospital bosses agreed early last year to roll out the kit, which would lead to the equivalent of around 90 full-time jobs out of 370 being lost over two years, saving £2.2m on pay costs by 2015.

At the time they said workforce numbers would be cut by not replacing staff who left.

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The aim was to speed up the time it took to send letters to patients.

Directors at the hospital have now been told by Alison Dailly, director of informatics, that: “This technology is demonstrating clear efficiency improvements.”

A report said: “The trust had an average backlog of clinic letters prior to digital dictation of 28 days, it is now four days.”

At a meeting of directors, she explained that they were just about to award a contract for the running of self-service check-in kiosks for patients, which have already been piloted.

Other plans include introducing wireless across the trust, with infrastructure already in place at Gledhow Wing of St James’s Hospital and at Chapel Allerton Hospital.

There should be coverage in 60 per cent of the organisation by next January and full coverage by July.

Mrs Dailly said they were still behind some other hospitals in the use of technology but progress was encouraging.

Vanellope Hope Wilkins. PIC: PA

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