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Elective care wait times to be shown on NHS App

Elective care wait times to be shown on NHS App

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

This week, Dr Tim Ferris 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’.

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.

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 at December 2021 and 30 million sign ups as of January 2023.

The app was primarily used by the public to show Covid status, as a ‘Covid passport’.

However, the Health and Social Care Select Committee chair and MP, Steve Brine, has suggested that NHS Digital must now capitalise on that user base.

A version of this article first appeared on our sister publication Healthcare Leader

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