Scotland’s NHS is set to operate a totally paperless service within the next five to seven years, making it the first such system in the world, it has been revealed.

Using wireless hand-held computers which enable doctors and nurses to check and update patient records promptly will spell the end of paper records forever, according to NHS Greater Glasgow and NHS Lothian which have already bought the technology.

A mobile clinical assistant (MCA), the electronic equivalent of a clipboard machine, will allow staff to download patient history, test results and digital X-rays.

The information is sent through dedicated hospital Wi-Fi systems allowing doctors to access sensitive information.

MCAs are used to read and update files on remote databases and save time by up to an hour a day. Trial runs are underway in places such as Grampian, Highland, Western Isles and Forth Valley.