New functionality has been added to the NHS App allowing patients across England to use it to choose a pharmacy to have their repeat prescriptions sent to directly.
It is likely to be particularly welcomed by people self-isolating and socially distancing during the current coronavirus pandemic.
This is something patients could already do in their GP practices, pharmacies or via some GP and pharmacy online services , but this move means patients can nominate a pharmacy no matter which IT system their GP surgery uses and without having to leave home.
Users can choose from all community high street pharmacies or nominate an online-only pharmacy. In the initial phase of this functionality being live, those choosing an online-only option will be automatically directed to the online pharmacy’s website to complete their registration. At this stage the service is not available to patients registered at dispensing GP practices.
The NHS App is available to download from app stores on all Apple and Android phones and tablets and is available to all patients across England. It is one of a number of patient-facing apps available and is connected to all GP surgeries.
If a patient has repeat medication, once they register for the app they will find it listed in their repeat prescriptions tab and can re-order their medications in seconds whenever they need to.
In addition to the new functionality, the app also provides direct access to 111 online and the NHS website coronavirus advice pages, both available without needing to register or log in.
It is one of several digital tools being promoted on the NHS website through a guide to accessing NHS services online, entitled “Health at home”, available at: https://www.nhs.uk/health-at-home.
The site provides guidance to people on how to contact their GP, order repeat prescriptions, manage long-term conditions and maintain physical and mental wellbeing
Mohammed Hussain, a practising pharmacist and a senior clinical lead at NHS Digital, said:
“Pharmacists will welcome this step, making it easier for people to nominate their chosen pharmacy without having to leave home.
“This functionality going live in the app makes it possible for people to complete the whole process themselves, as it uses their NHS login details for authorisation, meaning no admin is necessary at the pharmacist’s end.”
Polly Bishop, director of digital experience at NHSX, said:
“Making it as easy as possible for people to nominate a pharmacy is more important than ever during this pandemic – everything we do to enable people to stay at home contributes to helping the NHS and saving lives.
“The NHS App is just one way of people setting their nominated pharmacy – people can continue to do so in pharmacies or continue to use other online services already offering this functionality if they choose.
“We have introduced this function to ensure that patients have the opportunity to make use of it regardless of what other IT systems their GP surgeries use.”