The NHS has been banned from buying fax machines from next month - and has been told by the government to phase out the machines entirely by 31 March 2020.
This follows the embarrassing news that the Royal College of Surgeons revealed 9,000 fax machines were in use across the NHS in England. Given the high-tech nature of medicine this is a little like using pigeon post rather than email to send MRI scans.
The Department of Health said a change to more modern communication methods was needed to improve patient safety and cyber security.
In place of fax machines, the Department of Health said secure email should be used.
Richard Kerr, who is the chair of the RCS's commission on the future of surgery, said the continued use of the outdated technology by the NHS was "absurd".
He added it was "crucial" that the health service invested in "better ways of communicating the vast amount of patient information that is going to be generated" in the future.
Fax use was most common at the Newcastle-upon-Tyne NHS Trust, which still relied on 603 canny machines.
Three-quarters of the trusts in England replied to the survey - 95 in total. Ten trusts said that they did not own any fax machines, but four in ten reported more than 100 in use.