NHS launches app allowing patients to book GP appointments to end 8am scramble

New feature is announced in the week of the 70th anniversary of the health service 

Monday 02 July 2018 17:09
Jeremy Hunt announces a new app which will allow patients to address longer-term concerns
Jeremy Hunt announces a new app which will allow patients to address longer-term concerns

The NHS has launched an app that will allow patients to book GP appointments on the day, in an attempt to avoid the chaos that ensues every morning as patients try to get through to book appointments.

Patients will also be able to look at their records, order repeat prescriptions and access 111 online for urgent medical queries, as well as using it to address longer-term concerns such as setting out their end-of-life care and organ donation preferences.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "The NHS app is a world first which will put patients firmly in the driving seat and revolutionise the way we access health services.

"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."

Testing of the app, which will be available for patients in England, begins in September and it is expected to be ready to download from the App Store or Google Play in December.

Sarah Wilkinson, chief executive of NHS Digital, said the app was an opportunity to “provide easier access” and “relieve some burden from front-ine providers."

"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,” she said.

Matthew Swindells, NHS England national director of operations and information, said the app would allow patients to take charge of their own healthcare.

He added: "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."

Agencies contributed to this report

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