NHS claims app enabled £1m savings on cost of text messages in FY24

The health service claims that the ability to communicate with patients via its own dedicated app – rather than by paid-for SMS messages – is delivering annual savings of more than £1m

NHS England has claimed that the use of its dedicated app to communicate with patients is saving the health service more than £1m per year that would otherwise have been spent on sending text messages.

During the 2023/24 year, the NHS App was used to send 22.5 million messages. This includes communication from GPs, hospital consultants, and other NHS care services.

Without the app, these notifications would have been sent via post or in a text message – each of which costs the NHS about 5p. Based on the volume of messages sent via the app in FY24, this equates to a saving of £1.1m compared with SMS communications.

The NHS App is currently has more than 34 million registered users. The platform is used as the default means of communication for all those who have switched on notifications for the app.

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According to Dr Vin Diwakar, national transformation director for NHS England, continuing to grow the use of the app could provide the health service with far more significant savings.

“When we talk about the benefits of the NHS App, we usually focus on patient convenience, or the admin time saved for frontline staff – but the NHS App is also saving the NHS significant amounts of money on text messages and postal stamps, and these savings will only get larger as more features are added to the app in the future,” he said. “By encouraging more people to use the NHS App, with notifications switched on, we can really start to reduce the estimated £450m per year that is currently spent on communicating with patients.”

Between March 2023 and March 2024, the number of monthly logins racked up by the NHS App rose by more than two thirds: from 18.7 million to 31.5 million, according to the health service.

Sam Trendall

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