PATIENTS at Southampton General Hospital can now access free Wi-Fi while receiving treatment.

Southampton Hospital Charity has invested £200,000 to fund the service across University Hospital Southampton.

The service allows people to keep in touch with family and friends via social media sites as well as streaming messaging services such as Skype, Facetime and WhatsApp.

They can also use it to browse, pay bills, bank online, shop and even watch TV or play music (with headphones).

There was already basic Wi-Fi available across parts of the hospital, but the funding has meant this now covers the entire site and allows free streaming.

It also includes safeguards to ensure inappropriate material cannot be viewed.

The system was put in place by the hospital’s in-house IT team working with private firm Hospedia as well as NHS Digital.

Matthew Hine, commercial development manager for University Hospital Southampton, said: “This will make such a difference to our patients and their families.

“The contribution made by Southampton Hospital Charity has enabled UHS to become one of only a small number of Trusts in the UK to offer free streaming.

“We thank the charity and we also thank those whom have made a donation or contribution.”

Southampton Hospital Charity director Jason Shauness added: “We are really pleased to be able to contribute to free Wi-Fi media streaming for patients and visitors to the hospital.

“One of our main aims at Southampton Hospital Charity is to improve and enhance people’s time at UHS as well as provide facilities to improve patient care.

“Free Wi-Fi media streaming will really help make their time here much more manageable.”

To find out how you can contribute or to donate online, please go to alternatively call 023 8120 8881.