NHS App to provide info on average waiting times

Updates to software program used by 30 million people will also include additional information on prescriptions and functionality to allow users to collect medicine from any pharmacy of their choosing

Updates to the NHS App will allow patients to access information on how long they may be required to wait for hospital appointments.

Users that are currently waiting for some form elective treatment – including surgery, tests and scans, and other outpatient appointments – will now be able to use the app to see data on current average waiting times for services delivered by their local hospital trust.

The upgrades to the app also include the provision of additional information on users’ prescriptions, including when and where they have been issued, and by whom. Patients without a nominated pharmacy where they usually collect medication can now also use a barcode contained in the app to pick up prescriptions from any pharmacy.

The software has also been given a design revamp which is intended to “make it easier for patients to find the services they need, providing a simplified and more intuitive experience”.

The NHS hopes that the addition of the new functionality will help the health service to further expand a user base that has already grown to 33.6 million individual registrations.

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Vin Diwakar, national director for transformation at NHS England said: “The NHS App is transforming the way people manage their healthcare, freeing up valuable time for healthcare professionals. Giving all patients in England direct access to prescription information through the app means they’ll know when their prescription is issued and avoid delays in collection. The new feature will also mean people who haven’t set a nominated pharmacy will be able to present the barcode in the app to a pharmacy of their choice without needing a paper version. The prescription service is the latest in a number of services we’re adding to the NHS App to provide better care for patients. I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t used the NHS App for a while, or who has never downloaded it, to tap the app and see what it has to offer.”

Health and social care secretary Victoria Atkins added: “I’m determined to make our health care system faster, simpler and fairer for patients – and the NHS App is all about making access to care easier for everyone. Today’s update will mean ordering and collecting your prescriptions can be done with a few taps of your fingers. This will not only benefit anyone getting a prescription, it will also ease pressures on our hardworking pharmacists and GPs – freeing up valuable time for patients and helping to cut waiting lists.”

Sam Trendall

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