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Phones

NHS app will let patients make doctor's appointments, order repeat prescriptions

The free app will be available to English patients in December.

Royal London Hospital A&E Department

Patients in England will be able to access health services via the NHS app, which will be available from December.

Mike Kemp via Getty Images

The NHS hopes to cut down the queue of morning calls to local GPs around England with its new app.

The app, which launches in England in December, will allow patients to make appointments, order repeat prescriptions, manage any long-term conditions they might have and access its 111 helpline online.

They'll also be able to use it to set preferences for data-sharing, organ donation and end-of-life care.

The app will be available for iOS and Android users, and it can be used to sign up for an NHS account.

"I want this innovation to mark the death-knell of the 8am scramble for GP appointments that infuriates so many patients," said Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

"Technology has transformed everyday life when it comes to banking, travel and shopping. Health matters much more to all of us, and the prize of that same digital revolution in healthcare isn't just convenience but lives improved, extended and saved."

Regarding the app's availability outside England, NHS Digital told CNET that there are no plans to bring it to Scotland and Wales at the moment.

The Royal College of General Practitioners told the BBC that the app's security is vital.

"Considering that patients' medical history will be accessible on individuals' mobile phones on the apps, we need to ensure that the security and reliability of the identity verification processes being used are of the highest international security standards," chair Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard said.

Some NHS websites were among 4,000 compromised by malware that aimed to take control of visitors' computers to mine cryptocurrency in February, while 16 NHS hospitals were hit in a worldwide ransomware attack last year.