NHS app to offer GP appointments and access to medical records

Written by Sam Trendall on 12 September 2017 in News

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt announces plans for England-wide rollout of platform, which will also provide 111 access and repeat prescriptions

A version of the app is currently being trialled in London, ahead of being implemented nationally by the end of 2018

By the end of next year every NHS user in England will be able to use an app or a web browser to view their medical records and book appointments with their GP.

The online system, a version of which is currently being trialled in south-east London, will also permit patients to order repeat prescriptions and contact the 111 non-emergency service. The plans for a nationwide rollout during the year of the NHS’s 70th anniversary are to be announced during a speech being given today by health secretary Jeremy Hunt. 

“If the NHS is going to be the safest, highest-quality healthcare system in the world we need to do technology better,” Hunt will say, at an event in Manchester. “People should be able to access their own medical records 24/7, show their full medical history to anyone they choose, and book basic services – like GP appointments or repeat prescriptions – online.

The health secretary will add: “I do not underestimate the challenge of getting there. But, if we do, it will be the best possible 70th birthday present from the NHS to its patients.”

Hunt will also flag up the success of some ongoing NHS digitisation projects, particularly in dealing with long-term conditions. These include the MyCOPD app, which is currently available to help sufferers of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease manage their condition.

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To encourage the creation of other such apps, the health secretary will also unveil the MyNHS open data challenge, a £100,000 funding pot to be awarded to people or companies creating healthcare apps or other digital tools based on open data.

Sarah Wilkinson, chief executive of NHS Digital, said: "We welcome the secretary of state's clear vision for the provision of technology services which will empower citizens to access NHS services and manage their health. Good digital services will make care safer and more accessible and free-up more time for doctors and nurses to spend with patients.”

She added: "We are already working intently towards the delivery of these outcomes and have made substantial progress, in areas including enhancing 111 Online and NHS.UK, and launching Acute and Mental Health Global Digital Exemplars.

"We are committed to achieving the targets outlined by the Secretary of State, by the end of 2018. This will be great cause for celebration at the end of the NHS's 70th birthday year."

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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