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NHS App to show waiting times for elective care

NHS App to show waiting times for elective care
By Jess Hacker
11 January 2023

The NHS App will show patients an average wait time for elective care, NHS England’s transformation director has said.

Dr Tim Ferris today (11 January) told MPs that NHS Digital was working to ensure the NHS App offers patients ‘information about your position on the waitlist’, when asked what functionalities would be added over the next 12 months.

Dr Ferris clarified that the app would not show patients their exact number in the queue, as a number of factors would alter at which point a given patient enters the queue.

Instead, it would display average waiting times for a particular procedure and ‘whether or not there are options for alternatives’.

Speaking at the Health and Social Care Select Committee’s evidence hearing for digital transformation in the NHS, Dr Ferris also said the app would aim to assist patients with navigating the health system, including suggesting a next point of contact.

The NHS App was one of the most downloaded apps in its launch year, with 22 million users by December 2021.

The app was primarily used by the public for its ability to mark one’s Covid status, or ‘Covid passport’.

However, committee chair and MP Steve Brine today suggested that NHS Digital must now capitalise on that userbase.

Simon Bolton, interim chief executive of NHS Digital, said that the Covid pass feature led to the creation of around 30 million verified accounts which can be used as a ‘portal into our health care’.

This could be used as a foundation to effectively call people in for vaccinations or screenings, and to help services become more proactive, he said.

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