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National Booking Service

We're providing systems that enable people to book coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination appointments at vaccination centres and community pharmacies.

About the National Booking Service

We're providing systems that enable people to book coronavirus vaccination appointments at vaccination centres and community pharmacies across England.

The National Booking Service is made up of 5 parts:

  • an online booking service available to the public on the NHS website - the Book a coronavirus vaccination service
  • Overseas vaccinations recording service – for people to book appointments to show evidence of any COVID-19 vaccinations received outside England 
  • an appointment management system for staff working at vaccination centres and community pharmacies offering coronavirus vaccinations - Q-Flow
  • an app for checking people in to their appointments when they arrive at vaccination centres - the Check a vaccination appointment app
  • a training tool for 119 agents to familiarise themselves with the various booking journeys so they can support the public

There is also a telephone service, 119, for people who can not or do not want to use the online booking service. This is run by NHS England. The phoneline operators use the Book a coronavirus vaccination service on behalf of callers.

Other local solutions are in place, in addition to the National Booking Service, to enable hospital hubs and primary care networks to offer appointments to patients. 

Primary care networks can choose from an assured selection of appointment management systems through the Digital Care Services Framework (GP IT Futures).

1. Online booking service

The booking service will accept appointment bookings from people who have received a notification from the NHS, through the national service by text or letter, asking them to book. People who have not received a notification may also be eligible to book using the service.

The service accepts bookings from eligible people that are registered with a GP in England. 

Users provide their NHS number which is used to check they are eligible, and which helps make sure information about their vaccination is saved to their medical records. Those without an NHS number can be vaccinated at walk-in sites.

Users can book first dose, second dose and booster appointments, as recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

The service sends users a booking confirmation, by text message or email, which they take to the vaccination centre when they go to their appointment.

The service also allows people to cancel and re-book their appointments if they need to.

2. Overseas vaccinations recording service

The overseas vaccinations recording service enables people to book an appointment to show evidence for any coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations they have had outside of England. This is so the NHS can securely update your vaccination record.

3. Q-Flow appointment management system

Q-Flow is used by staff working in the sites offering vaccinations. It is linked to the online booking service. 
Users are assigned to a user group within Q-Flow, which determines their permissions and the tasks they can perform. 

Following assurance and confirmation of completion of readiness assessments, NHS Digital will create the site in the National Booking Service and create a Q-flow user account for the lead IT admin (site manager user). Site manager users will then be able to set up site attributes and schedule appointments in Q-flow, to allow patients to book via the National Booking Service. 

Anyone eligible can book an appointment, and it is also possible to book an appointment on behalf of someone else, if that person gives permission to do so.

Staff can also use Q-flow to edit appointment availability and view and manage booked appointments.

Q-flow guidance

Find out how to set up centres, create, amend and cancel appointments and provide staff user accounts.

4. Check a vaccination appointment app

Check a vaccination appointment is a separate app to Q-Flow and allows sites to check patients in. 

When someone arrives at a vaccination centre for their booked appointment, staff who have been authorised to use the check-in app will:

  1. Search for the appointment on the system using the booking reference or name and date of birth.
  2. Confirm whether the person attending the appointment is eligible to be vaccinated.
  3. Either mark the appointment as 'checked in' or 'rejected' then allow the citizen to proceed on site or not.

Guidance for arrival stewards and assessment clinicians

5. 119 training tool

A training tool for 119 call agents working on the NHS COVID-19 vaccine booking service, to familiarise themselves with the various booking journeys so they can support the public.

More information and guidance on the service

Related pages

Last edited: 26 April 2022 3:14 pm