5G hospital goes live in London

Virgin Media O2 Business has switched on a private 5G network at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

The hospital trust provides the most extensive portfolio of mental health services in the United Kingdom, and the switch-on is part of a digital health and innovation trial funded by NHS Digital.

The private 5G network will provide dedicated connectivity for mission-critical digital health use cases for both clinicians and patients. In addition, the trial will investigate the efficiency, safety and security benefits of using smart, 5G-connected technologies in NHS hospitals – including IoT, AR and AI.

Mike Smith, large enterprise and public sector director at Virgin Media O2 Business, said, “We’re proud to announce the switch-on of the UK’s first 5G-connected hospital – showing how next-generation technology can help create a smarter, modern healthcare service for everyone.

“Trials like this are the embodiment of our mission to upgrade the UK, and a clear sign of the role we can play in helping to shape the NHS of the future.” 

Stuart MacLellan, acting chief information officer at South London and Maudsley Foundation Trust, added, “We are proud to be partnering with Virgin Media O2 Business to create the UK’s first 5G-connected hospital, which enables us to use digital innovations to improve patient outcomes. This is a very exciting step forward.”

Kester Mann, technology analyst and director, consumer and connectivity at CCS Insight, explained, “This is a landmark moment for the UK telecoms and healthcare sectors. Dedicated 5G in hospitals can open the door to a range of new applications such as real-time tracking of patients’ conditions, remote support and round-the-clock monitoring of medicines and equipment.

“Its high throughput and low-latency characteristics can also improve the efficiency and security of existing operations, making healthcare services smarter, more accurate and more effective.”