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Give patients access to core services via digital or phone

In addition to the digital tools patients already have, we will give patients, via digital means or over the phone, the ability to book appointments, contact the 111 service, order repeat prescriptions, and access and update aspects of their care records, as well as control how their personal data is used.

Our Verdict

This is part of a promise to “empower patients”, using technology to “put care at their convenience”. 89% of adults in Britain use the internet at least weekly, and smartphones are the most popular devices used for that purpose. Given that only 3% of smartphone users do not use apps, it is understandable that a government might aim to harness that technology to enable patients to carry out tasks such as booking appointments, ordering repeat prescriptions and accessing their care records. This policy promises to deliver those facilities to patients either digitally or over the phone.

On 31 December 2018, the NHS App went into the Apple App and Google Play stores. A web-based version is also planned for release in 2019.

The new app offers patients the ability to:

  • check your symptoms
  • find out what to do when you need help urgently
  • book and manage appointments at your GP surgery
  • order repeat prescriptions
  • securely view your GP medical record
  • register to be an organ donor
  • choose how the NHS uses your data

The NHS App is scheduled to be rolled out gradually across England, with all GP surgeries expected to be connected by July 2019.

The new app ticks all the boxes in terms of fulfilling this policy pledge. When the roll-out is complete and all patients can access the app, we’ll be able to move this to ‘done’. For now, it’s ‘in progress’. Follow this policy to stay up to date.

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