Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent set to be at the front of NHS digital revolution

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A Staffordshire town is to become one of only five areas of the country to test the official NHS app for patients that will be at the forefront of the digital healthcare revolution.

The announcement was made by Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock today at the Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester.

The app, which it is hoped to rollout nationally next year, will undergo “beta testing” in Staffordshire until the end of the year. Patients with either iOS or Android devices will be able to use it to:

  • Book and manage appointments
  • Order repeat prescriptions
  • Check symptoms and get advice
  • Sign up to become an organ donor

Dr Ruth Chambers OBE, a GP and Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent’s clinical lead for technology enabled care services said: “This is excellent news for Staffordshire. More and more people are accessing services through mobile apps and the NHS needs to keep up, with technology playing a key role in helping meet the rising demand for services. Naming Staffordshire as one of only five trial areas in the country means we are in a position to influence a major national NHS service rollout.

“We shall hold the trial in one of our ‘localities’ in the county, probably consisting of four GP practices. They will get direct support with the roll-out and we shall be able to say more about this, including the location, shortly.”

There will be a number of important benefits to patients and the NHS.

Dr Chambers said: “Patients can access a range of services electronically already, but they say they want a more consistent experience and they want to be able to use an official NHS product  – that is what the NHS app is aimed at providing.

“It will make booking appointments easier and could end the 8am scramble for the phone.

“We appreciate that not everyone is comfortable with this kind of technology, and they won’t be forced to use it, but for most people it is now becoming part of their daily lives and it will help them and the NHS.”