Published on: 1st September 2022 | Updated on: 5th March 2023
Patients across England can now login to their NHS account using the NHS App or by logging in at the NHS website. The NHS account will allow patients to order repeat prescriptions, check their patient record or book and manage GP appointments. GP practices will need to review some of their IT system settings to enable patients to access the NHS account’s full range of functions.
The features include:
- get the NHS COVID Pass – view and download the COVID Pass for travel abroad
- order repeat prescriptions – see available medicines, request a new repeat prescription and choose a pharmacy for prescriptions to be sent to
- book appointments – search for, book and cancel appointments at the patient’s GP surgery, and see details of upcoming and past appointments
- get health advice – search trusted NHS information and advice on hundreds of conditions and treatments.Patients can also answer questions to get instant advice or medical help available from nearby
- view of health record for patients – accessing GP health record, to see information like allergies and current and past medicines. If the GP has given the patient access to their detailed medical record, the patient can also see information like test results and details of consultations
- register organ donation decision – and set preferences
- find out how the NHS uses data – choose if health record data may be shared for research and planning purposes
- view NHS number – patients can find out what their NHS number is
Additional services if patient’s GP surgery or hospital offers the NHS account service:
- message a GP surgery or a health professional online
- consult a GP or health professional through an online form and get a reply
- access health services on behalf of someone the patient cares for
- view hospital and other healthcare appointments
- view useful links a doctor or health professional has shared
- view and manage care plans
NHS account has a feature to allow patients to view and change their EPS pharmacy nomination.
Being able to update nominations in the NHS account means patients can more easily choose the pharmacy that is right for them during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The NHS account team at NHS Digital have been working on this development for some time, but its release has been prioritised to help patients and primary care teams better cope with ordering and obtaining prescriptions during the pandemic.
Having a pharmacy nomination in EPS removes the need for patients to collect FP10s from GP practices and drop them off at a pharmacy, supporting the public to observe social distancing. It is also intended to help reduce the nomination-setting burden on pharmacy teams and GP practices during this busy time.
To nominate a distance selling pharmacy (DSPs), patients must register with the pharmacy through their website or contact them directly; this is because DSPs normally need to collect additional information on patients that are nominating their pharmacy beyond simple demographic data, so they are able to provide an appropriate service when the first nominated script arrives for the patient.
Patients when ordering a repeat prescription may confirm their nominated pharmacy: a brick and mortar (described within the NHS account as ‘high street pharmacy’) or a distance selling pharmacy (described as ‘online only’). If the former is selected by the patient then a post code is entered to support selection.
The Community Pharmacy IT Group (CP ITG) and Community Pharmacy England have supported this development to allow patients to use the NHS account.
See also: Nomination.
Enabling patients to request their repeat prescriptions online, and for that request to be approved, particularly if previously authorised by the GP practice to be re-ordered. In the event that EPS nomination is in place, information may also later be transmitted electronically to the community pharmacy so that the patient can collect it from their chosen pharmacy or have the item delivered to their home. Many pharmacies of all sizes provide an online ordering option (e.g. apps with NHS IM1 integration) in which the pharmacy is sighted to the orders. Some pharmacy teams are also benefitting from patients using the NHS account, although the pharmacy will not currently be sighted to medicine orders made by patients that use the NHS App or the NHS website to order repeat prescriptions. Community Pharmacy England and Community Pharmacy IT Group have fed back to NHS App team that it would be useful for the pharmacy to have ability to have sight of what is ordered if the patient is one of their nominated patients. Further information: Online repeat prescription ordering
Over time, further services may be added to the NHS account . For example, it is planned the NHS account will:
- suggest health apps that may be of benefit to patients;
- enable commissioners to promote digital, or face-to-face services to patients that are available locally; and
- include a link for GP video consultation options.
Some of the NHS account functionality will be similar to the GP online services that have been available for some time.
GP practices will need to review some of their IT system settings to enable patients to access the NHS account’s full range of functions. If a patient’s practice is not live, they can provide an email address so they are notified when their practice goes live. Other features within the NHS account include the NHS 111 online symptom checker and the NHS website health A-Z; both these features will be active for all patients, even when their GP practice has not gone live.
We’re encouraging pharmacy staff, to set up their NHS account for their own health and care. Seeing what NHS account and NHS App can do for you will help you understand about how patients will use these functionalities. It will also help you consider suggesting future features (see below).
Community Pharmacy England and the CP ITG will continue discussions with the NHS account team to consider developments of it which may be beneficial to community pharmacy contractors and their patients.
If you would like to make suggestions for future features, please email Dan Ah-Thion, Community Pharmacy England’s Community Pharmacy IT Policy Manager. Community Pharmacy England will collate the feedback for discussion with the NHS account team. Pharmacy staff and Local Pharmaceutical Committees (LPCs) may also contact Dan regarding any lessons which emerge.
Information about NHS accounts for patients is available on the NHS website.
System suppliers and developers may look for opportunities to integrate their systems or apps with NHS App.
Read more at:
NHS account (NHS website)