DOCTORS must ditch their pagers and use WhatsApp-style messaging instead, the Health Secretary said yesterday.
Matt Hancock wants outdated technology banned and replaced by smartphones by 2021.
He said hospitals need to join the 21st century like everyone else.
One in ten of the world’s pagers — around 130,000 — are used by the NHS to alert medics to emergencies. Each device costs around £400 — with the health service’s total bill coming to £6.6million a year.
As well as the needless cost, Mr Hancock warns they are much less effective than smartphones.
Officials claim in tests, doctors saved 48 minutes — and nurses 21 minutes — per shift by using their smartphones instead.
Mr Hancock said: “We have to get the basics right, like having computers that work and getting rid of archaic technology like pagers and fax machines.
“Email and mobile phones are a more secure, quicker and cheaper way to communicate and allow doctors and nurses to spend more time caring for patients rather than having to work around outdated kit.”
Already ditching the pagers is West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, which has been testing a WhatsApp-style service called Medic Bleep.
The trust’s medical director Nick Jenkins said: “Responses are much quicker.”
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Earlier this month Mr Hancock told The Sun that doctors must stop sending “snail mail”.
He said using email instead will make it faster and safer for Brits to get medical results and appointments — saving lives.
Hospitals and GPs have lost more than 500,000 patient letters over five years.