NHS Digital and NHS England have developed a free NHS app, to be launched in December 2018, which will give patients a quicker and easier way to book GP appointments.

The new NHS app will also give patients safe and secure access to their health records and allow them to order repeat prescriptions, manage long-term conditions and access 111 online for any urgent medical queries.

The app is intended to make the lives of patients easier because securing a GP appointment online will avoid the issue of joining a queue of callers attempting to ring their local surgery at the same time each morning.

Patients will also be able to use the app to state their preferences relating to data sharing, organ donation and end-of-life care.

The app will be available through the App Store and Google Play. Once downloaded patients will be able to sign up for an NHS account.

Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “The NHS app is a world-first which will put patients firmly in the driving seat and revolutionise the way we access health services.

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“I want this innovation to mark the death-knell of the 8am scramble for GP appointments that infuriates so many patients.

“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.

“As the NHS turns 70 and we draw up a long-term plan for the NHS on the back of our £394 million a week funding boost, it’s time to catch up and unleash the power of technology to transform everyday life for patients.”

NHS England national director of operations and information Matthew Swindells added: “In the NHS’s 70th year, the new app will take the NHS to a world-leading position by empowering all our patients using digital technology to take charge of their own healthcare and contact the NHS in a way that suits them.

“The new app will put the NHS into the pocket of everyone in England but it is just one step on the journey. We are also developing an NHS Apps Library and putting free NHS wifi in GP surgeries and hospitals.”