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If it helps them, they will hopefully consider using it as a first step in the future.
Do any of them go on to install the app?
Those with long-term conditions who take medication regularly are quite keen as it allows them to order repeat prescriptions. They can also check what medication they’re taking, which is useful if they’re away on holiday or if they see a health care professional that doesn’t know them.
Does it stop your family and friends from ringing you about their health problems?
Other members of the family do ring me with quick questions because I’m a GP and it is nice to be able to refer them to the NHS App to look at the symptom checker. That is very handy. Once they’ve looked at that, they can decide whether to see their doctor, or go straight to A&E.
Do family and friends take notice of you referring them to the app?
The majority have gone on to download it, although I do make them aware that they will need to supply ID and a video to verify their identity. However, once they’re set up, they find it easier to book an appointment which they like.
The NHS App should soon have the facility to book appointments by proxy – booking appointments for other people such as family members. Would this be useful to you?
Yes, so long as there’s consent from everyone.
It would certainly be useful to book appointments for my children who are just seven and three.
I know you also work in urgent care as a GP alongside A&E. Does the NHS App help you in this role?
It is useful for people working in A&E to see a patient’s list of conditions, allergies and medication on the app. They may only see a summary record, but that is still useful in an emergency situation where they have to quickly decide on treatment.
Can you think of anything else you would like to see on the NHS App?
Yes, we have an e-consult service at our practice which enables patients to complete a form for administrative requests such as asking for a sick note and send it to their practice. Having this facility on the app would be the icing on the cake.