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a smartphone imageSeptember 20 2017

Every patient in England should be able to access their medical records and book GP appointments using an app, the Health Secretary has announced.

By the end of 2018, Jeremy Hunt expects every patient in England to be able to do the following online through an app:

  • access NHS 111;
  • access their healthcare record;
  • book a GP appointment;
  • order repeat prescriptions;
  • express their organ donation preferences;
  • express their data sharing preferences;
  • access support for managing long term conditions.

Announcing the plans, Mr Hunt said: “If the NHS is going to be the safest, highest quality healthcare system in the world we need to do technology better … I am setting seven challenges which, if we achieve them, will make the NHS a world-beater in the care of people with long term conditions.”

Coinciding with his announcement, NHS Digital set out details of five new projects to help people improve their digital health skills and improve access to technologies to support their health and care.

“These new digital inclusion pathfinder projects are part of a three-year Widening Digital Participation (WDP) programme being delivered by NHS Digital, in partnership with Good Things Foundation,” said NHS Digital.

“Twenty local pathfinder projects will be delivered over three years across all four NHS regions to develop and pilot targeted approaches to tackling digital exclusion – particularly amongst the most vulnerable and hard to reach groups.”

The pathfinder projects are:

  • Stoke-on-Trent CCG working with people who have long term cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses;
  • Nailsea Town Council will establish a high street digital hub to enable sharing of digital health kills between younger people and older people;
  • MYMUP (Making Your Mind Up) a charity in Bradford working with people with dementia, people with diabetes and young people (aged 13-25) who are carers for them;
  • Wakefield CCG and West Yorkshire STP investigating the potential of wearable technology for patients with vision and hearing impairments to support accessibility to health;
  • Seaview project in Hastings focussing on digital health inclusion for those who are homeless or insecurely housed.

Sarah Wilkinson, Chief Executive of NHS Digital, welcomed the Health Secretary’s “clear vision for the provision of technology services which will empower citizens to access NHS services and manage their health.”

She continued: “Good digital services will make care safer and more accessible and free-up more time for doctors and nurses to spend with patients. 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.”

Links:
Department of Health announcement     
NHS Digital comment     
NHS Digital pathfinder pilots announcement       

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