Coronavirus prompts surge in NHS App downloads in Devon

The coronavirus outbreak has prompted a huge increase in the number local people using the NHS App, with more than 1,000 downloads in Devon in the last week alone.

As people across the county reduce social contact where possible and increasingly seek help online, the number of NHS App downloads per week has more than doubled from February to March.

A simple and secure way to access a range of NHS services

The free app, which more than 13,000 people in Devon now use, provides a simple and secure way to access a range of NHS services on smartphones or tablets.

Available on Apple and Android devices, the NHS App allows people to:

  • Check their symptoms and find out what to do when they need help urgently through 111 Online
  • Order repeat prescriptions
  • Securely view their GP medical record
  • Register to be an organ donor
  • Choose how the NHS uses their data.

Some practices also allow patients to book and manage appointments at their GP practice.

As well as giving patients quick and easy access to their GP practice, it also frees up time for GPs, nurses and other healthcare professionals to see those patients who need to be cared for face-to-face.

Patients can download the app from Apple or Android app stores and follow the simple on-screen instructions to set it up, link it to their GP practice and start using the app.

Unlike previous online GP services, most patients do not need to visit their GP practice to set up a login for the NHS App, but can prove their identity in the app and create their NHS login.

Working round the clock to care for local patients

Dr John McCormick, Devon GP and Chief Clinical Information Officer for NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, said,

“Local doctors, nurses and other health and care staff are working round the clock to care for local patients. It’s fantastic to see such a big increase in the number of people using the NHS App as it will help to ease some of the pressures we currently face.”

“As well as giving people quick and easy access to their GP practice, the app frees up more time for practices to see those patients who need to be cared for face-to-face.”

“All of Devon’s 124 GP practices are connected to the NHS App, and Devon has one of the highest numbers of people using the app nationally.”

Incredibly easy to download

“Patients can register themselves with photo ID without needing to come into their practice, and access online GP services straightaway.”

“As well as being able to order repeat prescriptions and view their GP medical, patients can use the app to view the latest coronavirus information and access urgent medical help through NHS 111 online.”

“The NHS App is incredibly easy to download and use, it helps the local health and care service, and it protects people by limiting their exposure to the virus.”

Digital technologies coming to the fore

Ben Davison, NHS Digital’s executive director for product development said: “These are unprecedented times and with social distancing now the norm for everyone, we’re really starting to see digital technologies come to the fore – not just in the NHS but in all walks of life.

“Good technology is making it possible for doctors, nurses and other health professionals to continue to deliver care remotely where possible and freeing up time for those patients who need face-to-face care.

“It’s keeping people well whilst they are isolated with good information and advice and the ability to manage things like prescriptions remotely.

“We’re fully prepared for the numbers using NHS tech to continue increasing over the coming days and weeks, as the general public continue to play a key role in helping to ease the burden on our fantastic frontline services.”