nhs jeremy hunt

NHS app to launch in 2018 for doctor’s appointments, medical records and test results

The Health Secretary is set to announce a new app for the NHS that will allow patients to seek health advice, book a GP appointment and read their medical records.

Hunt is expected to say at an upcoming conference that, by the end of 2018, patients in England will be able to monitor their healthcare all in one place online.

He expects them to be able to access online health advice from NHS 111, see their health record and test results and book a GP appointment.

They should also be able to order repeat prescriptions, opt in or out of organ donation and get help managing any long-term condition.

Furthermore, patients can set preferences on how much of their personal data can be shared across the NHS.

The health record will be limited to a patient’s GP record rather than containing information about hospital care.

It will include health problems and diagnoses, test results, immunisation record, dates of consultations and a record of who has accessed the information.

The app used by patients will not be universal across the NHS.

Different regions may use a different app, but Hunt still expects patients to be able to access all their individual information in one place.

At last year’s Expo, Hunt announced an expansion of digital services for patients, including the existing NHS 111 non-emergency phone line to include a new online “triage” service for less serious health problems.

This year, Hunt will position the next 10 years of the NHS as the “decade of patient power”.

He is expected to declare: “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.

“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.

“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.”

Pilot schemes are currently under way across England to test the apps.

Dr Richard Vautrey, chairman of the British Medical Association’s GP committee, said: “GPs have been the leaders in developing and using electronic records and innovative digital technologies and are always looking for new ways to enhance and support patient care.

“It’s also important that these systems are well supported and that patients are given the right information on how best to use them safely.

“However, new technologies that are created with the intention of improving access won’t solve the fundamental problem that there are simply not enough GP and nurse appointments available for patients, as there are not enough GPs and nurses available to offer them or meet the growing needs of our patients.

“With the NHS at breaking point, we need the government to take the evidence of a workforce crisis seriously and act to implement a long-term, well-funded plan that results in more GPs being available to treat the public.”

On Tuesday, the Department of Health is also launching a consultation on how online doctor services could receive further scrutiny from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), including being graded from ‘outstanding’ through to ‘requires improvement’.

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