• Friday, June 09, 2023


NHS App hits more than 30m sign-ups, including 7m fresh ones in 2022

Launched four years ago, the app was one of the most popular free health apps of 2022, with more people accessing its range of features.

The NHS App (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

More patients in millions across England are benefitting from easier access to their health records and medical services through the NHS (National Health Service) App, as sign-ups went past 30 million — including seven million new ones in the year that just went by.

The app, which launched four years ago, was one of the most popular free health apps of 2022 – with more people accessing its range of features, including more than 65 million GP record views.

The government has already met its target to have 68 per cent of people in England registered with the NHS App by March this year and is firmly on track to meet its second target to have 75 per cent of people registered by 2024.

The app offers a digital front door for interacting with the NHS and has seen a host of new features launched in the last 12 months – empowering patients to access services from the comfort of their homes.

Health and social care secretary Steve Barclay said, “Technology is transforming the way we use the NHS and with over 30 million sign ups to the NHS App across the country, including seven million this year alone, there is huge potential to modernise services for patients and staff.

“In the last year alone, 21 million repeat prescriptions have been ordered through the app, saving valuable time for clinicians and helping people access their treatment as easily as possible.

“On top of this we have added innovative new features – from accessing GP records to booking Covid jabs – which will help us ease pressures on GPs and other primary care services and provide more effective, personalised care. If you haven’t already I’d encourage you to download the app and see how it can help you access the services you need.”

The NHS App supports NHS staff as they work tirelessly to clear the Covid backlogs, freeing up valuable clinician time as well as empowering patients to have greater control over their health and care records, a press release from the Department of Health and Social Care said.

A total of 1.7 million GP appointments were booked through the NHS App this year and a record-breaking 22 million repeat prescriptions ordered, up from nine million over the same period last year. It was also learnt that 128,000 people also registered their organ-donation decision through the app.

Patients in many parts of the country are also able to view and manage their hospital appointments on the app – helping to build a modern, digital NHS.

The new features include — viewing all referrals and future hospital appointments in one place, accessing supporting information for appointments – such as hospital maps – along with booking, changing, and cancelling appointments.

The new features are available to patients at 20 NHS Trusts across the country from York and Scarborough to Royal Cornwall – with another 24 trusts expected to be available by March — and has been used over 800,000 times.

Lords minister for technology Nick Markham said, “Millions of patients have continued to sign up to the NHS App, helping to generate a record number of views and modernise how our health service works.

“We will continue to innovate and incorporate new features to ensure that patients can access convenient, high quality care when and where they need it.”

Simon Bolton, interim chief executive at NHS Digital, said, “The NHS App continues to change the way people in England access healthcare services. Since it was launched four years ago, millions of people have used it to book GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions and view GP records.

“We’ve also added new features to the app to help people manage hospital appointments, book Covid vaccinations and receive messages from GPs. The NHS App is a great example of how technology can be used to help people take control of their healthcare and access NHS services quickly and easily.”

Dr Vin Diwakar, medical director for transformation at NHS England, said, “It’s fantastic that the NHS App is already in the pockets of millions of people, providing easy access to crucial everyday NHS services like repeat prescriptions and GP appointment bookings.

“Our vision is to transform the NHS App into a front door for the NHS, with many exciting new features and changes planned – delivering on the NHS’ Long Term Plan commitment to continue to harness the power of technology for patients and staff – which remains at the heart of our plans to innovate patient care for the 21st century.”

People can also receive notifications from their GPs, a feature which has been rolled out across nearly 2,000 practices. Thanks to this effort, over 700,000 messages to update patients including appointment reminders and test results have been successfully processed.

People are also benefiting from the ability to book a Covid vaccine appointment through the NHS App.

More than 28,000 bookings have been made via this route in just four weeks since the feature was added in November, accounting for nine per cent of all bookings since this feature was enabled.

Thanks to these kinds of features, millions of people are benefiting from easier and quicker access to the NHS services – and the government will continue to build on the progress which has already been made.

New features in the app available next year will ensure patients can access more NHS services at their fingertips – including booking their flu vaccination and accessing hospital correspondence, such as pre-consultation questionnaires.

Eastern Eye

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