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How the NHS App is helping my mum
My mum Esther is very old school. She’s not tech-savvy – she barely texts or uses WhatsApp and rings one of her children for help if she can’t get into Netflix.
But with a bit of encouragement, she’s started using the NHS App. It’s improved her life hugely and made a difference to our whole family.
Ten years ago, mum was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which she takes medication to control. The condition left her feeling drained and she struggled to keep on top of taking her tablets regularly.
Often, she knew that her medication was running out, but as her pharmacy takes 48 hours to process a repeat prescription, she didn’t always arrange it in time. A few times she ran out of her tablets completely and ended up feeling quite poorly.
This was a growing concern to me and my family – we tried to help, but me and my siblings all work so we struggled to get to the pharmacy at the right time.
When I heard about the NHS App, it sounded like a brilliant way to manage things better.
Mum was anxious about using the app, but I really wanted her to try it. I knew that learning how to press just a few buttons could really improve her health.
There was a bit of trepidation at first, but she ended up enjoying the simple verification process. It made the tech fun and relatable.
I also set her up with an active email address, which she didn’t have before. It was nice seeing my mum get excited. She couldn’t believe it.
The difference since she started using the NHS App is huge. She’s so much better at remembering to order her repeat prescriptions, which means her diabetes is under control. The cycle of forgetting, running out of medication and her health worsening has been stopped.
Mum also uses the app to book appointments at her GP surgery as she’s had some other health problems, but she found it difficult to ring first thing in the morning. Now, she can easily book using the app and is able to get appointments for just a few days away.
Using the NHS App hasn’t just improved mum’s health, but her confidence too. People want to feel more empowered and have a say in their care, and the app enables them to do that. This is so positive for their mental health.
As the integrated safeguarding lead at Central and North West London NHS Trust, I work with lots of people who face barriers to accessing healthcare, such as those who are older or socially isolated. The app could be really valuable for them by making it easier to contact health services.
I use the app myself too, mainly to see my medical records but also to book GP surgery appointments. It’s so simple to schedule important tests like my cervical smear.
The NHS App is a great tool to help people – especially people like my mum - to have more choice and control over their health. Why don’t you try it for yourself?