News and Notices

Fax Stop update! Congratulations; over 90% of patient related faxes eradicated for one GP practice

DCHS staff should be really proud of their achievements.  We were asked by DH to stop using fax as a mechanism for transmitting patient information by 1 October this year .... and with your help we have been able to eradicate over 90% of patient related faxes for one GP practice.  We are told your fantastic response to this request makes us one of the best in our region. Thank you for all your efforts and well done!

Please do not panic if you are still using faxing to send patient information!  As you will have noticed we are not actually switching any faxes off, but over time may not replace fax machines or install the fax drive on new MFDs. 

Please  do, however, continue to make this issue a priority and take action. Remember, this is about making sure we (DCHS) send information securely.  If people are faxing us, that is their issue and IG risk as long as we can demonstrate that we have offered them the opportunity to use a more secure option like email or TPP.

Here are our tips on how you become 'fax free'!

Faxes you receive

  • Set up a team email account and then communicate this account name to as many of your regular referrers as possible in a way that is appropriate.   
    For example you may have a newsletter or be able to inform referrers when you reply to them about their referral.  The message will slowly trickle through. See our Fax Cessation Toolkit for instructions on how to set up a team account.
  • Agree local protocols for checking and disseminating information sent to the team email account. Team accounts must be checked regularly (at least every 24 hours) to make them an effective tool.
  • When you receive a fax from someone, accept it, but ensure they know the safer method for sending information to your service.  GPs have signed up to the same agreement as us, so should start to refer in a different way.  They should also make contact to ask you how they can refer now they can’t fax you, but if not, accept the fax as previously, and then let them know about your secure alternatives.  It might be worth creating a standard reply to a fax stating the fax has been accepted but you are committed to improving information governance standards and can offer a secure NHS mail account for future correspondence - include reference to your team email

Please let the Transformation Team know your team email account so we can share it with others.


Faxes you send

  • Contact the person you are trying to fax and ask them what safe alternative* they can offer.
  • If they have an account, send the information electronically (you may need to scan the information first if it is handwritten).

    If they don’t have an account, you can still email them to any other account but you MUST start with the word [secure] in the subject field.  This encrypts the email and contents, the recipient then has to  follow the instructions to open it securely.
  • Care homes can apply for an email account which would allow you to send them emails securely.
  • If there is no safe alternative and you need to send information urgently, fax using the fax safe protocols.

  *What is a safe alternative?

  • Email: NHS mail account to NHS mail or .gov account is safest.  However you can make an email to any account safe by encrypting it with [secure] at the beginning of your subject field.  Check our toolkit for the full list of secure email addresses.
  • Transfer information through a clinical system (e.g. Task list on TPP)
  • If the item is not urgent, think, can it be correctly addressed and posted?

If you are trying to send something urgently and no safe alternative can be found, send the details following the fax protocol, ensuring a test page is received before sending the patient data.  Please then inform us, so that we can investigate and set up a longer term solution.