Patients will be able to access their medical files and book GP appointments through a new NHS mobile app by the end of 2018.
Speaking at the NHS Expo conference in Manchester on Tuesday, Jeremy Hunt promised seven digital improvements for all patients in England as the NHS approaches its 70th anniversary.
It will offer the following services to patients:
- Access to NHS 111
- Access to their healthcare records
- Booking of GP appointments
- Ordering of repeat prescriptions
- Management of their organ donation preferences
- Management of their data sharing preferences
- Access to support for managing a long term condition
The digitalisation of the NHS has already proven to be successful. In 2016, three million people benefitted from online networks, safety devices and news apps, such as MyCOPD app, which helps patients to be more independent in managing their conditions.
Calling the next 10 years ‘the decade of patient power’, the health secretary hopes to further the modernisation of the NHS and that patients diagnosed with long-term diseases will be better taken care of.
‘If the NHS is going to be the safest, highest quality healthcare system in the world, we need to do technology better.
‘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,’ he said.
Dr Richard Vautrey, British medical Association (BMA) GP Committee Chair, praised digital technologies supporting patient care but warned about the current crisis the NHS is facing.
‘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,’ he said.