NHS app will allow patients to book GP appointments
The government is to launch an NHS mobile app that will allow patients in England to book GP appointments later this year.
The app will also allow them to order repeat prescriptions, view medical files, sign up as organ donors, decide how their health data is used and receive advice from the 111 service.
Testing on the app, which will be available on both Apple and Android devices, is set to begin in September will a full launch expected in December.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “I want this innovation to mark the death knell of the 8am scramble for GP appointments that infuriates so many patients.
“Technology has transformed everyday life when it comes to banking, travel and shopping.
“Health matters much more to all of us, and the prize of that same digital revolution in healthcare isn’t just convenience but lives improved, extended and saved.”
The NHS is turning 70 this year and has long been involved in the process of adopting technology into its services.
One of the chief concerns is whether wholesale adoption of digital will potentially allow patients’ medical data to be compromised by hackers.
The government says the security of the apps will be at least on a par with online banking.
Sarah Wilkinson, chief executive of NHS Digital, said: “We are working hard to deliver the Secretary of State’s vision for an NHS App which provides much easier access for individuals to key NHS services.
“I have no doubt that people will hugely welcome the ability to access self-help diagnostic tools, more easily book GP appointments, view test results and order repeat prescriptions, and tell us about their personal preferences with respect to organ donation, use of their data and other aspects of their care.
“We all know that demand for precious NHS services is escalating, and for a large portion of the population digital channels are a preferred means of access to data and services, so this is an opportunity to provide the easier access people want and relieve some burden from front-line providers.”
Matthew Swindells, NHS England national director of operations and information, said: “The new app will put the NHS into the pocket of everyone in England, but it is just one step on the journey, we are also developing an NHS Apps Library and putting free NHS Wi-Fi in GP surgeries and hospitals.”