This online training session on 28th June 2023 was aimed at people who support other patients to use digital technology - community connectors, digital champions, PPG members.

We were delighted to welcome Patrick Johnson, Implementation Lead, Digital Experience at NHS England, and Paul Wastell, Senior Communications and Engagement Lead, Primary Care Group, NHS England who between them explained developments to the NHS App and how to use forms on GP websites to request appointments, advice or other help.

Rachel Power, our Chief Executive, chaired the event.

We're also grateful to Patrick and Paul who have given us permission to share on the website their presentations. Access both PDFs via the links below.

Please do share the recording of the event in your own networks: just remember to let people know it was a Patients Association event.

Questions and answers

We're grateful to NHS England for reviewing the questions we weren't able to answer during the webinar and writing up the answers.

Q. When looking for "services near me" I have to put in my postcode; surely the App knows that from my NHS number?

A. Currently, your address and postcode are not recorded against your NHS number in the NHS App. The “services near me” function in the App is linked to

Q. Accessing my recent blood tests results, I didn't understand the information, so what's the point of having? Patients won't use the system when they really need it due if to previous  experiences have been poor?

A. We are displaying information from the GP clinical system. The GP can add notes to the test results to make them more understandable to patients.

Q. For some time EMIS has been developing a dashboard that uses AI to give me a visual record of what is important for my health and the critical points I should be aware of. Where are we with that, as I feel such an infographic would be extremely useful for patients.

A. This is not something currently available or being planned in the foreseeable future, but that’s not to say it won’t be a longer-term future development.

Q. One question which keeps coming up in relation to the NHS App is the Professional Records Standards Body (PRSB’s) About Me standard and how it is going to be integrated into the App. As widely reported, GP records only contain a basic demographic profile. About Me (if properly developed) should introduce a wide array of benefits for both health professionals and members of the public.

A. We are currently working with suppliers to consider how best to show “about me” information in the NHS App.

Q. On the NHS App there is a heading "View Your Messages". There seems to be nothing attached to this header – will it be an available option?

A. You will only see messages in this section of the NHS App if you have been sent a message by your GP, hospital or the National Booking service.

Q. When using the practice website, if you hit the prescription or book appointment button it diverts you to the Patient Access site. Does this mean you have to have an account with Patient Access?

A. To access “Patient Access”, a website and mobile app that gives you access to a range of GP services online, you will need the registration document (linkage key) from your local GP surgery.

Q. What is the plan for those patients without internet access or smart phones please in terms of online access?

A. Digital services will always be part of a multi-channel offer that includes in-person, phone and online services.
Recent data suggests an increasing acceptance of, and reliance on, digital technologies within our practices and communities. The NHS is committed in its work to tackle health inequalities and to get more people online so that advances in healthcare digital services can benefit everyone.

Q. Can you please clarify the ways in which a patient is contacted when it is time for a medication review? It still appears on the repeat prescription papers, but are they also notified by text and/or email?

A. This will depend on the local process for your GP practice who is able to text, telephone, email, or message you in the NHS App if the service is available.

Q. Why can’t Xray and scan results be seen on the NHS App?

A. Xrays and scans cannot be seen on the NHS App as they are held on different IT systems; however, any written reports of the results that are sent from the hospital to the GP practice will be visible in your records. Xrays and scans can usually be provided by the hospital upon request.

Q. Are any innovations planned for NHS App so people with sight impairment have enough time to book an appointment before the App times out?

A. The NHS App accesses data from GP systems so we understand that solving this would require changes on the GP systems side. We will look into this further. To confirm, the NHS App is compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 and works with screen readers.

Q. How can the NHS App help support long term conditions, for example by including information on long term and chronic conditions, such as symptoms and research studies?

A. You can now “Register for health research” in the NHS App and get updates about health research you may be interested in joining. “Be part of health research” is accessible from the NHS App homepage. This makes it easier for people to take part in wider research. Users can register and create an account. They will then be contacted about health research they may be interested in joining. The website and service are run by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).

Q. How can the NHS App help me find the right pathway to help with my health issues eg, triage for a severe headaches or a nurse’s appointment for an asthma review, as well as an over 55s health check? Additionally, could it tie in with the Patient Access online tool or eConsult?

A. You can use the “Contact you GP” service in the NHS App, if available in your GP surgery to complete an online consultation form. You can also use the Health A to Z and 111 Online services in the NHS App.