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GPs buried under trusts' workload dump

Over half of GP practices now connected to NHS App

More than 52% of GP practices are now using the NHS App, according to a health minister.

The app, which was developed by NHS Digital and NHS England, allows patients to access their GP record, book an appointment, order repeat prescriptions and access NHS 111 online. 

According to NHS Digital, all GP practices will be connected to the app by 1 July 2019.

Health minister Jackie Doyle-Price revealed the new figure in answer to a written question earlier this month. 

Conservative MP Scott Mann asked health and social care secretary Matt Hancock what 'steps his department is taking to enable the use of digital technology to increase access to healthcare for people in rural communities'.

In response, Ms Doyle-Price said the NHS App was now connected in over half of GP practices, providing a 'universal offer regardless of postcode'. 

She said: 'The NHS App is now connected in over 52% of general practitioner (GP) practices.

'It gives patients a single safe and secure means to interact with their GP, including access to their GP record, make GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions, access 111 online for urgent medical questions. The improved NHS website has over 40 million visits a month.'

Ms Doyle-Price added that the Department of Health and Social Care is working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to ensure digital technology improves access to healthcare in rural areas. 

She said: 'We are working closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to ensure that health and care needs are taken into account in national digital infrastructure policy, are running two test beds under Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s 5G programme focused on improving access, and the 5G programme itself will address rural connectivity.' 

Last year, a survey of over 1,000 GPs found that 61% of GPs were concerned the app would increase their workload rather than reduce it.

But a pilot of the app later showed that it had 'no negative impact' on GP practices.

However, a leaked memo in March showed many online GP providers did not have the technology to connect to the NHS app.

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