Odd old stories we assumed were lies have been proven true by a series of Freedom of Information requests, which have found that the NHS really is heavily reliant on antiquated old fax machines to transmit written messages between hospitals.
The Royal College of Surgeons did the FOI legwork to come up with an estimate that around 9,000 fax machines are still in use in hospitals and trusts around the UK, with the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Trust winning the battle to be the most outdated sender of messages by managing an amazing 603 fax machines in its premises. The Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust has 400 of the things, with Barts Health on 369.
10 NHS trusts didn't have any at all, either because they're forward-thinking and have got rid of the things, or perhaps they are still waiting to be upgraded from messenger boys.
Richard Kerr of the RCS said: "The advances we are beginning to see in the use of artificial intelligence and imaging for healthcare, as well as robot-assisted surgery, promise exciting benefits for NHS patients. As the RCS's Commission on the Future of Surgery is discovering, there is so much more to come. Yet, alongside all of this innovation, NHS hospital trusts remain stubbornly attached to using archaic fax machines for a significant proportion of their communications. This is ludicrous." [Royal College of Surgeons]