NHS leaders in North Yorkshire and York say the NHS App is “much more than just a COVID vaccination passport” – and are urging patients to install it on their smartphones and tablets.

As GP surgeries grapple with an unprecedented demand for appointments, NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Vale of York CCG say the App can help patients bypass busy phone lines.

The App can be used for booking routine appointments, ordering repeat prescriptions, checking symptoms and accessing NHS 111 – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

NHS North Yorkshire CCG Clinical Chair, Dr Charles Parker, said: “Not to be confused with the NHS contact-tracing COVID App, the NHS App now has around five million registered users.

“With practices incredibly busy at the moment, patients may find it easier to access GP practice services through the NHS App at a time of day or night that’s most convenient.”

There has been a surge in downloads of the NHS App (1.3 million) after Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, announced on 7 May that it would be used to “view and share proof of your COVID-19 status” for international travel.

The NHS App also has a function that allows users to check their vaccine record, including how many doses they have had and which jab they received.

According to Digital Health, in the week when so-called vaccine passports went live on the NHS App, there were more than four million logins and more than 90,000 people used the service to order repeat prescriptions.

Between 17 and 20 May more than 11,000 people registered an organ donor preference using the app, with a daily average of 2,870 – a ten-fold increase on the number of people registering an organ donation preference in April which averaged about 300 per day.

There were also more than 8,000 appointments booked through the NHS App in the same four days, double the daily average of April.

Dr Nigel Wells, NHS Vale of York Clinical Chair, added: “It’s terrific to see so many people now using the NHS App to access routine healthcare.

“I would absolutely encourage everyone with a smartphone or tablet to download the app – it’s a digital front-door to GP practice services and NHS 111 and is enabling people to access the right care at the right time.”

For more information about the NHS App, visit: https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/online-services/nhs-app/