NHS App: Modern access to healthcare in England

At the end of 2019, I signed up to the new NHS App, where I can book GP appointments, order repeat medications, research symptoms, view medical records and register to be an organ donor.

This is a very simple, useful and accessible app that allows me to access all the medical services easily and independently. It is available with both iOS and Android devices. I use my iPad mini 4 to access the app and it is compatible with the accessibility features including large text, zoom and VoiceOver

Read on to learn how to set up an account and how to use the six available services. (I’ve edited some of the images to hide my personal information.)

Signing up to the NHS App

NHS App login screen

To sign up, download and open the NHS app. Once opened, click on “Continue with NHS login”. Although you may already have an NHS online account, you will need to set up a new account for the app. Therefore, you’ll need to select “Set up a NHS login”. You will then need to enter and verify your email address. You should then follow the instructions on the app of how to register. At some stage you’ll need some codes, which you’ll need to request from your GP surgery.

Once registered, you can login and have access to the NHS app services.

NHS app homepage

Check your symptoms

Symptoms page

The “check your symptoms” category simply has a link to a NHS page with A-Z of medical symptoms. This isn’t a diagnosis service, so you are still advised to seek medical help from your GP or another healthcare professional.

This area also includes advice on coronavirus, online access to the 111 service and online access to your GP.

Book and manage appointments

Book appointments

This section allows you to book, manage and cancel appointments at your GP surgery. You can find out which doctors are available on which dates and times. Plus, you need to include a short explanation as to why you require the appointment.

Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus outbreak, appointments are not able to be booked on the app. For now, you need to phone your GP surgery to make an appointment.

Order a repeat prescription

medication list

In this service you can order your repeat medication prescriptions. You simply tick each medication you need to re-order. You can then select which pharmacy you would like to collect it or request it to be delivered. Your GP will need to approve the order, which can take up to 48-72 hours. You can then check the status of your order on the app.

View GP medical record

GP medical records

In order to access your medical records, you’ll need to request it from your GP surgery. You’ll be sent a form to fill out, in which you’ll request which information you’d like to access.

I have all my medical records from 2008, when I registered at this GP surgery, to present. I would have liked to have everything from birth butt I guess they don’t have electronic formats of my records from the mid 90s.

The information in this section includes allergies, medicines, immunisations, health conditions, test results and consultations and events.

View your messages

Message board.

I think this feature was added when the coronavirus outbreak started as I’ve never used it. My assumption is that healthcare staff can share news and updates on your latest health enquiries.

Manage your organ donation decision

Yes or No Organ Donation Decision

This section simply allows you to opt-in or opt-out as an organ donor if you haven’t registered already.

You can download the NHS App on the AppStore and Google Play.

Please Note: The NHS App is only for NHS patients registered at a GP surgery in England. Not all surgeries may be enrolled in this service yet, so best to check with your GP surgery before downloading and registering.

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