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Patients will get access to NHS services via app by end of 2018

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt will set out plans for giving patients access to records and booking GP appointments through app

By the end of next year, patients will be able to access medical records, order repeat prescriptions and book GP appointments through an app, health secretary Jeremy Hunt will announce today (12 September).

Speaking at an NHS conference, Hunt is expected to promise patients access to a range of NHS services through apps by the end of 2018.

This includes accessing their own medical records, NHS 111 services, being able to order repeat prescriptions, updating their personal preferences such as organ donation and data sharing, and support for 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,” the health secretary is expected to say.

Some GP surgeries are already piloting similar apps, and more pilots are likely to be announced in coming months as the Department of Health moves on with the roll-out. The plans also coincide with the NHS celebrating its 70th birthday next year.

“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,” Hunt will add.

These plans all hinge on the development and launch of the revamped NHS Choices website, now named NHS.UK, which is due to officially launch later this month.

NHS.UK will be the “digital front door” to the NHS and aims to offer a “more personalised and tailored experience”, such as allowing patients to access their records and book appointments through the website or via mobile apps.

Commenting on Hunt’s announcement, Sarah Wilkinson, chief executive of NHS Digital, said she welcomed his “clear vision for the provision of technology services, which will empower citizens to access NHS services and manage their health”.

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

“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, as well as launching Acute and Mental Health Global Digital Exemplars.”

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