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NHS App saving around 22,000 car journeys every month

The NHS App is helping to reduce travel to GP practices with an average of 22,000 car journeys saved every month.

The NHS App is helping to reduce travel to GP practices with an average of 22,000 car journeys saved every month.

New analysis carried out by NHS Digital found that around 200,000 appointments and repeat prescriptions arranged through the NHS App between April and December last year would previously have been made by people driving to their local surgery.

The research also estimates that around 4,100 fewer bus and taxi journeys and around 5,500 fewer train and motorbike journeys are being made every month with patients using the app instead. 

In total, more than 206,000 car, bus and taxi trips to GP practices are estimated to have been saved between April - December 2021. 

Travel accounts for around 17% of the carbon footprint of the NHS, and the journey savings are estimated to have led to a carbon dioxide (C02) reduction of 78 tonnes.

Over 26 million people are now signed-up with the NHS App. In the last four months, more than 5.9 million repeat prescriptions were ordered and over 463,000 GP appointments were booked via the NHS App, saving valuable time for patients and clinicians.   

Susie Day, NHS Digital Head of Delivery, NHS App said: “By using the NHS App to manage appointments and order repeat prescriptions online thousands of patient journeys to GP practices are being saved every month. 

“The NHS App is providing people with a convenient and secure way to access healthcare and is having a wider positive environmental impact. Sustainability is a key priority for NHS Digital and the organisation is working to reduce its carbon footprint. Last year, use of the app helped save more than 200,000 car journeys, resulting in a significant reduction of carbon emissions.”  

A total of 55 apps and e-health services are now available through NHS login, the service that supports the NHS App, including e-Referral services, COVID-19 support and advice, maternity and child health services, online pharmacies, and services to monitor and improve health and wellbeing. 



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Notes for editors

  1. Calculations are based on the number of appointments managed, and the number of repeat prescriptions ordered through the NHS App between April - December 2021.

  2. The analysis of patient journeys is based on a total of 351,916 transactions via the NHS App that would otherwise have led to a journey to a GP practice (based on previous behaviour)

  3. NHS App users who previously managed their GP appointments and prescriptions online have been excluded from the analysis. 

  4. The analysis has only been applied to inward practice journeys (journeys to practices but not from practices).

  5. A study examining the carbon footprint of patient journeys was published in the British Journal of General Practice online in 2013, for more information, visit Carbon footprint of patient journeys through primary care: a mixed methods approach (nih.gov)

  6. Sustainability is a key priority for NHS Digital and the organisation is working to reduce its carbon footprint as outlined in its Annual Sustainability Report for 2020-21 published in December 2021.  

  7. Owned and run by the NHS, the NHS App is a simple and secure way to access a range of NHS services on your smartphone or tablet. It is available to all patients aged 13 and over who are registered with a GP practice in England. For more information and to download the app, visit nhs.uk/app.

  8. This news story was updated on 25 April 2022 to clarify that travel accounts for around 17% of the carbon footprint of the NHS.


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Last edited: 4 May 2022 3:03 pm