<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> New NHS App Has Potential but Safeguards Must Be in Place Says College

2 July 2018

New NHS App Has Potential but Safeguards Must Be in Place Says College

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Apps are increasingly a vital part of our everyday lives and as technology adapts in the 21st century, the healthcare service must remain up to date with the technologies that the public – and thus our patients – are using.

"The new free NHS app that is being rolled out to patients represents a significant and constructive step forward in the way care is managed and is intended to offer a range of services including more streamlined booking of GP appointments, ordering prescriptions, and recording organ donor preferences - and a way of updating patients registration details at their GP practice.

"Some practices already offer many online services and many have steps in place to adopt new technology but GPs and our team are working flat out to meet patient demand and it is vital that all GP surgeries are provided with the additional support and the resources they need to ensure it is introduced as seamlessly as possible without disruptions to patients or practices.

"Adequate safeguards must be in place to ensure the utmost protection of patients' personal data, and considering that patient's medical history will be accessible on individual's mobile phones on the apps, we need to ensure that the security and reliability of the identity verification processes being used are of the highest international security standards.

"It is likely that smartphone savvy patients will embrace booking their GP appointments via this app – rather than calling their GP surgery- but it is important that patients who do not have a smartphone can continue to make bookings via phone or in person.

"As with any scheme it must also be rigorously independently evaluated to ensure it is safe and cost-effective for the NHS and that is beneficial to both patients and practices and that it does not add a further burden of workload pressures to already overstretched GPs and their teams."

Further Information
RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633/7410
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659
press@rcgp.org.uk

Notes
The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.