Apps, News

National roll-out for NHS App waiting times feature

NHS England has announced the national rollout of the average waiting time feature to be introduced in the NHS App, for patients referred into a speciality at NHS acute trusts.

The rollout follows a trial with Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, where the introduction of the feature was viewed as a success. From 30 January, a national rollout will begin, for the NHS App to show the mean average waiting time to patients on a waiting list and an estimated waiting time for their hospital treatment.

Published times will be based on the Waiting List Minimum Data Set (WLMDS) and waiting times from My Planned Care (MPC), and will be updated on a weekly basis.

NHS staff are directed to a communications package via the FutureNHS site to learn more about how the service works prior to roll-out.

The announcement comes as the DHSC launches a new campaign to encourage use of the NHS App, “by increasing awareness of the App and its functionality and driving knowledge of the key benefits to using it to access NHS health and care services”. The new campaign is set to run to 31 March, featuring a range of dedicated social media assets and resources.

The NHS App currently has a rating of 3.9/5 stars on the Google Play Store, and 2.9/5 stars on the Apple App Store, with some of the reviews rated “most relevant” on the Google platform mentioning challenges including missing test results, glitches, loss of functionality following updates, issues completing registration, and problems with accessibility.

To learn more about the new waiting times feature, please click here.

In related news, following a successful three-month pilot with 42 GP practices, a health tech company announced integration between two of its features with the NHS App: Batch Messaging, which allows practices to send the same text message to a large group of patients, and Batch Florey, supporting practices to send out patient questionnaires.

Elsewhere, NHS England has published the new NHS vaccination strategy, highlighting the role of digital services, a national vaccination data record and the NHS App in promoting access, uptake, and delivery.