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Virgin Media O2 Business launches care-ready connectivity to help close the UK’s digital health gap

Virgin Media O2 Business Stand: 4/G110
  • Over a third of NHS professionals predict decade-long wait for digital equality, according to Virgin Media O2 Business’ latest health report ‘Bridging the digital gap in UK healthcare’ 
  • By 2030 it is predicted that 4.5m people (8% of the population) will remain digitally disengaged 
  • To help close the digital health gap, Virgin Media O2 Business has launched ‘Care-ready Connectivity’, an integrated connectivity package including digital explore workshops and mobile health checks for UK NHS Trusts 
  • Package sits alongside existing Connect More and Tech Donation digital inclusion programmes 

London, 14 May 2024: New research from Virgin Media O2 Business surveying UK healthcare leaders has revealed it could take up to a decade before patients across the UK have equal access to digital healthcare. This comes as Virgin Media O2 Business launches its ‘Care-ready Connectivity’ suite of health solutions in a move to help tackle the digital gap in UK healthcare.  

The research report, ‘Bridging the digital gap in UK healthcare’, shows that despite over a third (34%) of respondents saying it could take 10 years to achieve digital equality for patients, there has been progress in recent years. NHS staff recognise the positive impact the introduction of Integrated Care Systems (ICS) has had, with 98% acknowledging that it has positively influenced technology adoption. Over half (51%) also believe there has been significant progress in the standardisation of digital systems since January 2023. 

As anticipated, the biggest barrier to improved digital equality for staff and patients is a lack of funding, cited by 49% of respondents. This is followed closely by staff training needs (47%), infrastructure limitations (43%), concerns about data security (43%), and resistance to change (41%). 

To continue accelerating progress and breaking down barriers, Virgin Media O2 Business’ Care-ready Connectivity package will include new Mobile Health Checks and access to expert Digital Explore Workshops for all NHS Trusts regardless of whether they are an existing customer. These solutions have been created to help NHS Trusts implement new technologies and improve efficiency for staff and access for patients.  

The Mobile Health Checks provided by Virgin Media O2 Business allow senior decision makers to review their entire mobile estate with tech industry experts, ensuring they are getting the most of out their infrastructure and that devices are up-to-date, secure and optimised.   

The Digital Explore Workshops involve collaborative face-to-face sessions which tackle digital inefficiency challenges that affect staff engagement with technology.  

After carrying out these fact-finding sessions, industry experts at Virgin Media O2 Business can then create and share bespoke digital transformation roadmaps and communicate steps that can be taken to improve digital access for both staff and patients.  

Almost half (49%) of respondents also recognised the need to provide more support to patients when it comes to adopting new digital tools designed to enable more effective proactive and preventative care.   

As a result, Care-ready Connectivity will sit alongside Virgin Media O2 Business’ wider digital inclusion programmes – the Connect More programme and the Tech Donation programme – both of which are already tackling the digital divide in local communities in terms of digital upskilling and access to devices.   

Commenting on report findings, Mark Burton, Health & Social Care Lead, Virgin Media O2 Business, said: There’s an opportunity for both the public and private sector to work together to bring about a revolutionary step change in the mindset of healthcare provision. With our new offer, we aim to empower individual NHS Trusts and organisations to take control of their own digital journey. Our research shows that digital progress is varied across the UK, and so we in the private sector must step up and support the NHS to provide the best possible digital environment for staff and patients across the nation.”  

Virgin Media O2 Business is already providing integrated digital healthcare solutions for 110 NHS Trusts and since launching Care-ready Connectivity, have delivered four digital workshops. One of the Trusts which has benefitted from the new Digital Explore Workshops already is Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust who have identified a number of underlying connectivity solutions to focus on to drive better patient care. 

Mike Bacon, Programme Director at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said: “Reliable, safe and secure digital infrastructure is essential in providing high quality, integrated care across our hospitals, the city of Leeds and beyond. As we develop our plans to build a new hospital here in Leeds, it’s important to ensure our facilities are scalable and future-proofed for generations to come. Bringing together our project leadership team and knowledge experts from industry enabled the group to explore the art of the possible for digital healthcare.” 

To learn more about the care-ready connectivity package, follow this link:  

Notes to editors: 

Follow this link to read the Norfolk Community Heath & Care NHS Trust case study:  

Methodology: Censuswide surveyed 1,046 UK Senior Decision Makers in the healthcare industry (100% public sector) between 11.01.2024 – 16.01.2024. 

Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on ESOMAR principles. 

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