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GP app is start of ‘patient power’ in NHS, says Hunt

NHS patients will soon be able to seek health advice, book a GP appointment and read their medical records on a single smartphone app.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt will today announce plans to have it up and running in England by the end of next year. Patients should also be able to order repeat prescriptions, opt in or out of organ donation and get help managing long-term conditions, he will tell the Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester. The app will be limited to a patient’s GP record rather than containing hospital care details and patients can decide how much data they want shared across the NHS.

Mr Hunt will say the next 10 years will be the ‘decade of patient power’.

He will say: ‘If the NHS is going to be the safest, highest quality healthcare system in the world we need to do technology better.’ Pilot schemes are under way to test the app.

But Dr Richard Vautrey, chairman of the British Medical Association’s GP committee, said: ‘New technologies created with the intention of improving access won’t solve the fundamental problem that there are simply not enough GP and nurse appointments available, as there are not enough GPs and nurses available to meet the growing needs of our patients.’

■ MENTAL health sufferers are facing a postcode lottery for access to care in the UK, according to new analysis. NHS data examined by the Royal College of Psychiatrists found some regions have less than half the number of NHS consultants compared to other parts of the country. The college also warned of a shortage of psychiatry students.