Patients across England can now download the NHS App which will allow them to order repeat prescriptions, check their patient record or book and manage GP appointments. GP practices will need to review some of their IT system settings to enable patients to access the app’s full range of functions.
The app will co-work with the NHS website (previously called NHS Choices). Patients who use the app, will use the new NHS login process to verify that they may access their health information.. The early features are intended to be:
Change of EPS Nomination feature
NHS App introduced a feature from April 2020 to allow patients to view and change their EPS pharmacy nomination.
Being able to update nominations in the NHS App means patients can more easily choose the pharmacy that is right for them during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The NHS App team at NHS Digital have been working on this development for some time, but its release has been prioritised to help patients and primary care teams better cope with ordering and obtaining prescriptions during the pandemic.
Having a pharmacy nomination in EPS removes the need for patients to collect FP10s from GP practices and drop them off at a pharmacy, supporting the public to observe social distancing. It is also intended to help reduce the nomination-setting burden on pharmacy teams and GP practices during this busy time.
To nominate a distance selling pharmacy (DSPs), patients must register with the pharmacy through their website or contact them directly; this is because DSPs normally need to collect additional information on patients that are nominating their pharmacy beyond simple demographic data, so they are able to provide an appropriate service when the first nominated script arrives for the patient.
Patients when ordering a repeat prescription may confirm their nominated pharmacy: a brick and mortar (described within the app as ‘high street pharmacy’) or a distance selling pharmacy (described as ‘online only’). If the former is selected by the patient then a post code is entered to support selection.
The Community Pharmacy IT Group (CP ITG) and PSNC have supported this development to allow patients to use the app.
See also: Nomination.
Over time, further services may be added to the NHS App. For example, it is planned the NHS App will:
- suggest health apps that may be of benefit to patients from the NHS Apps library;
- enable commissioners to promote digital, or face-to-face services to patients that are available locally; and
- include a link for GP video consultation options.
Some of the NHS App functionality will be similar to the GP online services that have been available for some time.
GP practices will need to review some of their IT system settings to enable patients to access the app’s full range of functions. If a patient’s practice is not live, they can provide an email address so they are notified when their practice goes live. Other features within the NHS App include the NHS 111 online symptom checker and the NHS website health A-Z; both these features will be active for all patients, even when their GP practice has not gone live.
It will be possible for approved apps to interoperate with the NHS app, using NHS login where appropriate. These apps may function alongside the NHS app or in the case of web-based apps, they would open within the NHS app.
Have you got the NHS App?
We’re encouraging pharmacy staff, to download and use the NHS App for their own health and care. Simply visit your app store, search for ‘NHS App’ and download it for free. Seeing what NHS App can do for you will help you understand about how patients will use it. It will also help you consider suggesting future features (see below).
PSNC and the CP ITG will continue discussions with the NHS App team to consider developments of the app which may be beneficial to community pharmacy contractors and their patients.
If you would like to make suggestions for future features, please email Dan Ah-Thion, PSNC’s Community Pharmacy IT Lead. PSNC will collate the feedback for discussion with the NHS Digital’s NHS App team. Pharmacy staff and Local Pharmaceutical Committees (LPCs) may also contact Dan regarding any lessons which emerge from the piloting or rollout.
Patient communications and information
NHS App (NHS Digital)
If you have queries on this webpage or you require more information please contact email@example.com.
Return to the IT section: Patient apps and wearables
Return to the IT section: Patient facing tools, apps and services
Return to the IT section: Pharmacy systems and apps