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University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust

Working closely with the Trust and the University Hospitals of North Midlands charity, UHNM Charity, SPARK TSL were able to identify a selection of pain points and develop a solution that met them.

Challenges Solved  

  • Patients no longer pay for TV and entertainment.
  • Systems are more streamlined and reliable.
  • Charity promotion.
  • Providing entertainment on the patient’s own device.

About University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust

Organisation type

  • Hospital

Size of operation

  • Approx. 1,400 beds 
  • 11,500 members of staff 

Client Service

  • Hospedia 
  • WiFi - 2014 
  • Patient Entertainment – 2021 
  • Trust paid TV on Bedside Units - 2022 

Product suites

Free WiFi 

SPARK® Media

  • Free TV and Radio
  • Free Digital Newspapers and Magazines 

  • Links to UHNM Charity, dementia and healthcare services

  • Accessibility on patients own device  

T2A Bedside Unit Technology 
  • Free TV (Trust Paid) & Radio 
  • Movies 
  • Free outbound calls 
  • SKY Sports 
  • Accessibility for those who don’t have their own device 

What makes University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust brilliant?


March 2021 saw University Hospitals North Midlands NHS Foundation Trust awarded the Driving Efficiency Through Technology at this year's HSJ Awards. The award celebrates UHNM's outstanding contribution to healthcare through its Smart project.


UHNM's divisional surgery team have been recognised for their dedication and determination. Staff volunteered to work evenings and weekend and were presented with the Chief Executive's Award in recognition of their work.


The Trust is one of the first NHS organisations in the UK to make free WiFi available in its hospitals, on the basis that it enables patients to stay in touch with their family and friends and improves the way it interacts with patients.



  • To provide free TV/patient entertainment for everyone at all times.

  • Accessible information on the patient’s own devices.

  • Be available to patients, visitors and staff.

  • Be accessible in every area of the hospital.

  • Increase exposure to the charity and encourage donations.

  • Offer a solution to build on over time.

  • Work in collaboration with the Trust and Charity to evolve the platform, enhancing clinical and engagement features. 

  • Provide an entertainment, engagement and communication system available for those with or without their own device. 

Our Solution

SPARK® TSL has provided WiFi for Royal Stoke University Hospital and County Hospital since 2014. The Trust was the first to adopt our optimised Patient Engagement Platform, which integrated with wayfinding, games, welcome videos and more directly onto the WiFi registration page. We have since developed SPARK® Media. 

Historically, UHNM has provided TV, sport and movies on the legacy Hospedia Bedside Units at a cost to the patient. There are currently 230 of these units at County Hospital in Stafford. In February 2022 the Trust decided to pay for the cost of TV, allowing patients to use the service for free. This came about after a trial where the Trust saw the benefit to offering this service for free.  Find out why patients still need to pay for entertainment on these legacy units, and what we’re doing to eliminate it.  

However, not all hospital beds have a Bedside Unit and some patients prefer to use their own device where they can access more than the limited 20 year old legacy Bedside Units can provide. patients are able to access the following services directly from their own device through SPARK® Media: 

  • Free TV and Radio (including hospital radio) with 35 channels UHNM SPARK Media
  • TV Guide to see what’s on, what’s coming and set reminders 
  • Newspapers and magazines 
  • Catch up TV & on Demand 
  • Links to: 
  • UHNM Charity 
  • Educational health videos 
  • Hospital information 
  • BBC Music Memories for Dementia 
  • BBC Reminiscence 
  • NHS Give Blood 
  • NHS Health A-Z 
  • NHS Medicines A-Z 

SPARK® Media is available once the patient has signed in to the WiFi. After registration, the patient is welcomed by a page specifically designed for the UHNM Charity which promotes the charity’s work and encourages donations. The user can close this and will then be taken to a URL where SPARK® Media and all the above content is location, which is a personalised link for the Trust. 

From their own device patients are able to keep in touch with friends and family, educate and entertain themselves for free. 



The UHNM Charity is really pleased to be able to support this initiative. It's massive for us as it means our patients, their relatives, our visitors and staff all have free access to an entertainment platform on any device. As it's free and easy to use - it's accessible to everybody. This is a really incredible opportunity for everyone to get involved.

Lisa Thompson, Director of Communications and UHNM Charity University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust


History of University Hospitals of North Midlands

The University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust was established on the 1st of November 2014.

It runs the Royal Stoke University Hospital, formerly run by the University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust, and the County Hospital (formerly Stafford Hospital). It was formed after the dissolution of Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. They serve around three million people and are highly regarded for their facilities, teaching and research. The Trust has around 1,450 inpatient beds across the two sites in Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford. Their 11,000 strong workforce provides emergency treatment, planned operations and medical care. 

UHNM is the specialist centre for major trauma for the North Midlands and North Wales. Happy staff make for happy patients, and with the help of both, they have put together a wide range of development and support packages aimed at ensuring the Trust has the opportunity to fulfil their potential and meet their aspirations as well as the tools to provide great care. 

The Trust’s mission to provide the very best health care includes recruiting the best people. Their goal is to be a world-class centre of achievement, where patients receive the highest standards of care and the best people come to learn, work and research. 

The Trust also has a vibrant charity arm, UHNM Charity, which provides funds to enable University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust to purchase state-of-the-art medical equipment and to enhance and improve patient experience and comfort. Many of the staff are passionate about the service they provide and want to be part of something special.  

The Trust was one of the beneficiaries of Boris Johnson's announcement of capital funding for the NHS in August 2019, with the allocation of £17.6 million for three new wards delivering 84 beds. 

University Hospital North Midlands 2

The Future

The way SPARK® Media has been built is to allow easy customisation of services available to the patient. UHNM has the option to add more features onto the existing SPARK® Media platform, as well as upgrade the legacy Hospedia Bedside Units to SPARK® Media BSU. This will further improve the patient experience and realise ROI’s for the Trust.  

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To download a copy of the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust case study as a PDF, simply click the link below.

Download the case study