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Bolton NHS Foundation Trust

With WiFi SPARK - there is no cost to the end user.

A key motivator behind upgrading the patient entertainment system across Bolton NHS Foundation Trust lay in providing a solution that was affordable, reliable and above all, enjoyable. The patient entertainment solution would preferably enable all visitors to the Trust to access affordable entertainment. 

Health boards told to end ‘rip-off’ TV charges for hospital patients - Edinburgh Evening News 07-02-2019 15-20-03

About Bolton NHS Foundation Trust

Organisation Type


Size of Operation

5,000+ staff

755 beds in a mixture of wards

Client Since

WiFi - 2019

Patient Entertainment - 2019

Product Suites

  • SPARK® Media
  • Free TV and radio
  • Free digital newspapers and magazines
  • Accessibility on patients own device
  • Surveys and health messaging right to the patient's fingertips
  • 24/7/365 support

What makes Bolton NHS Foundation Trust Brilliant?


The Trust won a Nursing Times Award for their innovative text messaging service, ChatHealth, in the Nursing in Mental Health category


The Trust's Health Improvement Practitioners were shortlisted for the Health and Wellbeing Advocate of the year in the 2021 National BAME Health and Care Awards


The Trust celebrated three nominations in the Health Tech Newspaper Tech Awards for 2020



  • Adopt innovation that pushes the Trust to remain a digital pioneer.

  • Improve infrastructure to replicate what most patients experience outside of the hospital.

  • Implement a patient engagement solution that champions 'connectedness' to bring a more positive experience to the patient recovery process.

  • Offer a reliable WiFi service to all those staying, visiting and working within the Trust to ensure they remain connected with loved ones during coronavirus restrictions.

  • Provide additional media services on top of the WiFi access for those who do not have their own access to popular subscription sites.

  • Offer a reliable helpdesk and support system, available 24/7/365

  • Implement a variety of targeted entertainment solutions such as Dementia or Child specific content

  • As visitors were often bringing their own devices to support access to streaming sites, the Trust wanted to prioritise the removal of obtrusive bedside entertainment units in favour of a more refined innovation.


Our Solution

The Trust installed the full suite of SPARK® Media products including TV, radio and access to streaming sites to any WiFi-enabled device, 24/7. Unlike the existing patient entertainment services, it is free at the point of use, meaning hospitals can eliminate the high costs for comparable TV services across the NHS.

The service offers a collection of digital print resources that enable patients to read the latest newspapers and magazines on their smartphone, tablet or laptop. The service is not only a benefit to patients and visitors, but also to staff who can use it during their breaks. 

The collaboration between WiFi SPARK and Bolton NHS Foundation Trust reflects a mutual passion for delivering innovative digital healthcare services. Patients, visitors and staff now have free to access WiFi throughout the hospital, as well as free TV and digitised magazines and newspapers, hospital and national radio, links to Trust and charity information as well as a variety of NHS health links. 

WiFi SPARK's 24/7 Service Desk and end-to-end monitoring by UK-based engineers mean that NHS staff are now free to spend more time with patients and focus on delivering their exemplary levels of care to meet CQUIN targets instead of providing WiFi-related assistance.

WiFi SPARK is proud to be contributing to Bolton NHS Foundation Trust meeting its goals of becoming a digitally connected trust to, in turn, improve the health and wellbeing of its patients and staff. 

The implementation of SPARK® Media has been seamless and we know the platform will further our ambition of becoming a digitally-connected Trust. The SPARK® Media platform is aimed at making a difference to both patients and staff. It will help us meet our goals of improving the patient experience, having a positive impact on patients and communities, as well as increasing staff efficiency and the efficiency of our Trust overall

Phillipa Winter, Chief Informatics Officer Bolton NHS Foundation Trust



A solution that has the opportunity to save Bolton's patients 
+£540k over the year

The Numbers

Competitors charge patients £7.90 per day for use of their patient entertainment platform.
This only provided access to four hours of television a day, outbound calls, and internet and audiobooks, to name a few features.
If even a quarter of the 755 beds in the Trust used their bedside entertainment terminals, competitor providers would have seen a revenue of £544,260.63 per annum from Bolton's patients.

With WiFi SPARK, there is no patient expense.

WiFi SPARK's offering is unlimited. Everyone can find an entertainment solution to fit them including the targeted offerings such as BBC Reminiscence and BBC Music Media Archives for those with dementia, Freeview television, radio, children's magazines and much much more.

But the service doesn’t stop with the patients, every area of the hospital including waiting rooms, staff quarters and out-patient housing is covered by the packing meaning everyone benefits from SPARK® Media.




More than just WiFi

The SPARK® Media service can also integrate with other digital services available in the Trust. It allows patients to order food from their own devices, eliminating the need for pen and paper menus. By integrating with PAS systems to take into considerations medical conditions and history, as well as tracking patient movements within the hospital, it ensures food is not wasted. SPARK® Media Medic also allows healthcare professionals to access patient records, removing reliance on old fashioned technology such as pagers, fax machines and printed records at the bedside. 

SPARK® Media offers all of this capability for expansion on top of WiFi and Patient Entertainment. Trusts can communicate with users on their own devices with health messaging or present surveys to gain feedback from patients and visitors all working to improve the Trust's offering. 

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History of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust manages the Royal Bolton Hospital and provides NHS care services for people in the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton and the surrounding areas. Prior to its acquisition of Foundation Trust status in 2008, the trust was known as Bolton Hospitals NHS Trust.

The Royal Bolton Hospital is an acute general hospital located in Farnworth, Greater Manchester. Managed by Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, the hospital was established adjacent to the 'Fishpool Workhouse' in 1872. After joining the NHS in 1948, the hospital became the Bolton District General Hospital in 1951 and later the Royal Bolton Hospital. 

The values of the Trust prioritise empathy, compassion and dignity for patients. The hospital facilitates a range of services and is a centre of excellence for maternity and children's services with a new delivery suite, special care, neonatal intensive care and children's unit. It has a reputation as a great teaching and training organisation with an education centre, library and outstanding programme for staff learning and development.



The Future

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and WiFi SPARK share a vision and passion to use technological innovation to enhance the delivery of healthcare services. The implementation of a solution by WiFi SPARK aids the Trust in meeting its short-term goals around 'connectedness' and entertainment but is also underpinned by a strategic intent to deploy an inherently flexible platform that can support other innovative services in the future. These services may include specific patient care systems, a hospital administration system (e.g. admittance and discharge) and future services focusing on improving the patient and visitor experience. 

With a rich heritage in the healthcare sector and a thorough understanding of the Trust's needs and imperatives, WiFi SPARK worked collaboratively to develop solutions to meet the aims of the Trust. However, it is also committed to developing a platform that could be open to other solution providers and incorporate their technologies in the future through partnerships that, at their centre, elevate the service provided by the Trust.

Case Study Download Icon Bolton

To download a copy of the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust case study as a PDF, click the link below.


Download the case study