Vodafone supports NHS communications during coronavirus pandemic

Technology giant works on Nightingale hospitals and enhancements to NHS 111 telephone triage service

Technology giant, Vodafone UK, is providing connectivity for the new NHS Nightingale Hospital at London’s ExCeL centre, as well as using its expertise to help support other frontline NHS workers.

The new temporary field hospital has received free network support and technical assistance from the company, which has increased the capacity of its 4G network in the area around the hospital to ensure staff and patients can stay in touch with their families and loved ones.

The company is now offering similar assistance to other emergency facilities being set up elsewhere around the UK.

It has also doubled the calling capacity for the NHS 111 telephone advice service, which can now handle 2,400 calls simultaneously at any given time.

And, as calls from the public to NHS 111 have surged by as much as 400%, compared to the pre-pandemic peak, Vodafone has aequipped more than 1,000 workers so they can assist NHS England in staffing the free service.

This army of retired health workers and GPs was equipped with the necessary software to work from home as remote call centre operators.

The supply of equipment and rapid activation of mobile telephony and videoconferencing equipment is enabling frontline staff to remain operational while in isolation

In addition, deaf and hearing-impaired people in Northern Ireland who ring the NHS 111 helpline will now benefit from a hard-of-hearing option from social enterprise InterpreterNow, which has already been rolled out in England, Scotland and Wales.

As well as the 111 service and Nightingale Hospitals, Vodafone has helped The George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, set up specialist ‘pods’ in which to quarantine patients with the coronavirus.

Vodafone UK’s Rapid Response team quickly equipped the pods with the necessary connections and communications services.

And, in the North East of England, Vodafone has upgraded two of hospitals with 900Mbit/s broadband, including the necessary routers capable of delivering that much bandwidth.

Elsewhere, since the coronavirus outbreak, Vodafone enabled 3,172 Wi-Fi Calling connections for the NHS South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit in 24 hours – a remarkably-short time for that many connections.

A similar feat was achieved for the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, with Wi-Fi Calling enabled for their phones in just two hours.

And Vodafone assisted the NHS High Weald CCG with remote working kit for their health workers who have had to self isolate.

A Vodafone spokesman said: “The supply of equipment and rapid activation of mobile telephony and videoconferencing equipment is enabling frontline staff to remain operational while in isolation. Their ability to contact patients and continue GP services remotely has prevented our health system from collapsing.”

Companies