NHS app doubles user numbers

Software now has 220,000 registrants

Credit: Piqsels

The efforts of 645 ‘ambassadors’ enabled the NHS app to more than double its number of users during 2019’s last four months.

At the start of September, the app – which has been publicly available for just over a year – had 91,000 registered users. This number has now shot up to 221,000, which equates to a rise of 142%.

The rapid growth has been chiefly attributed to a campaign led by and focused on front line NHS staff, in which a total of 645 ambassadors have been tasked with encouraging their colleagues to embrace the technology.

According to NHS Digital, the advocates for the app include 113 nurses, 20 midwives, 39 doctors, 29 occupational therapists, nine physiotherapists, nine paramedics, and 28 pharmacists.

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Tara Donnelly, chief digital officer at NHSX, said: “NHS staff play an important role in telling people about the NHS App and supporting them to use it. As members of NHS staff, we all use the NHS too and so we’ve been talking to staff about how the NHS App can really benefit them, especially given the busy lives so many lead.” 

She added: “A growing range of digital tools are available alongside the NHS App, using the infrastructure we developed in building the app, giving people an important choice in how they access NHS services online. Our intention is to encourage NHS staff to help people to understand the choices available. This will mean that some people choose to use another tool instead of, or alongside, the NHS App. This might be an app they have used previously on a long-standing basis or one that provides an additional service that better meets their particular needs.”

The ambassador programme will be supplemented over the coming months with campaigns designed to increase uptake among patients. 

About 95% of general practice surgeries in England are connected to the NHS app, which is available, on both Android and Apple devices, to everyone aged 13 and over who is registered with a doctor.

The program allows users to check symptoms, book or cancel GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions, view medical records, and register to donate organs.  The app also allows users to specify preferences for how the NHS uses their data.

Ian Phoenix, director of technology for citizen health at NHS Digital, said: “It’s fantastic to see so many NHS staff choosing to use the NHS App themselves and reporting back to us that they’re seeing benefits, whether it be from being able to quickly and simply order their repeat prescriptions, view their medical records, set their organ donation preferences or check symptoms. If you’ve not yet downloaded it yourself, do give it a try.”


Sam Trendall

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