NHS App promises to be a constructive step forward - but safeguards needed, says College

Publication date: 23 January 2019

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to the launch of the NHS App.

She said: "Technology plays an increasingly important role in the NHS, and in our patients' lives.

"The new NHS App promises to be a significant and constructive step forward in using technology to support patients to manage their own care and wellbeing. We hope it will make navigating primary care services easier for patients by making it possible for them to book appointments, order prescriptions, and check their medical records on their smartphone, if they wish to.

"Many GP practices already offer patients a range of digital services, such as self-check-in desks and text message reminders for appointments, and electronic symptom checkers and email contact with their surgery. This app will certainly complement those initiatives, but we need to make sure that patients who do not have access to a smartphone – or are just not as tech-savvy - can continue to make bookings and access healthcare in more traditional ways.

"For those that do use it, adequate safeguards must be in place to ensure the utmost protection of patients' personal data, especially as people's confidential medical records will now be accessible via their mobile phones if they choose this option and therefore, potentially more vulnerable to security breaches.

"It's also essential that the app is thoroughly and independently evaluated to ensure it is safe and cost-effective, and ultimately, beneficial to both patients and GP practices without unnecessarily increasing our workload."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 765
press@rcgp.org.uk

Notes to editor

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.

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