NHS App to choose a pharmacy

The NHS has for a while had a downloadable app available for your smartphone. They have now added “functionality” to it.

The idea is that patients across England can to use it to choose a pharmacy to have their repeat prescriptions sent to directly. Using the app has advantages. Not least patients can nominate a pharmacy no matter which IT system their GP surgery uses. More importantly at the moment, they can do so without having to leave home.

The app provides guidance to people on how to contact their GP, order repeat prescriptions, manage long-term conditions and maintain physical and mental wellbeing.

Having a nominated pharmacy means patients do not have to visit a GP surgery to collect their repeat prescription slip.

The NHS App is available to download from app stores on all Apple and Android phones and tablets and is available to all patients across England. It is one of a number of patient-facing apps available and is connected to all GP surgeries.

How to set it up

All good so far. What the NHS do not appear to have taken account of is that those most vulnerable to the current virus, those most likely to need to stay at home, tend to be in the over 70’s category.

They may find the process of setting up the app far from easy. As with most apps once you have downloaded it onto your tablet or smartphone, you need an account. To set one up you’ll need an email address and password.

The set up will now ask you for a photo of your driving license or passport. This means you need to give permission for the app to access your device’s camera. Then take the photo and press “continue”. The app uploads the photo quite quickly.

Then you’ll be asked to take a video of yourself repeating 4 numbers. Again you need to re-authorise your camera to take video for the app. Its not that easy. You’ll have to answer questions about the video.

Finally you need to type in your NHS number.

At this point you may think you are ready to go.

But no.

This is where the app really falls down. Having done everything else instantly, the app simply tells you it will take 12 hours minimum to set up your account. But gives no indication as to how you’ll know if the account has been set up. presumably they send you an email.

Once the account is set up, I imagine you can use it to choose your pharmacy. I will have to wait and see…..


  • I use the Patient Access App. I’m over 70 and had no difficulty with this and wasn’t as complicated as your description sounds! 🤨

    • Entirely fair comment. But we are not all at the same level. The description in the article is accurate though. We trialled it and wrote down each section as we did it. It maybe they have changed some of the protocols to sign it but it was very much a live experiment!

  • And if you get hacked. The hacker has everything they need .

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