NHS App tops 30 million sign-ups

There were more than 7 million new sign-ups to the NHS App in 2022 with total sign-ups topping 30 million.

In 2022 people used the NHS app to book 1.7 million GP appointments, order 22 million repeat prescriptions and view GP records 65 million times. 

128,000 people also registered their organ donation decision through the NHS App.

The NHS is planning to add new features to the App this year, including pre consultation questionnaires.  

PIF would like to see NHS England add ‘About me’ information to the App to support shared decision making. 

This feature is already included in the NHS Wales App. 

We would also like to see much greater signposting to the quality information and support provided by health charities.

Read more here.

Good Things in 2022

The Good Things Foundation recruited 996 new members to its National Digital Inclusion Network in 2022. 

It now has 889 Databank Centres and has distributed 119,222 SIM cards to community partners in a bid to tackle digital exclusion. 

A National Device Bank has been launched, with seven big employers making donations. 

Find out more here.

NHS asks patients to practise self care during industrial action

The NHS  has asked patients to use services wisely during industrial action and take simple steps to self care.

This includes using NHS 111 online as the first port of call for health needs and using 999 for life-threatening emergencies only.

People have been asked to take sensible measures to keep themselves well – such as drinking responsibly or stocking up on their medication.

PIF’s view is that self care must be supported by a national self care strategy, incorporating access to trusted health information. 

Read the advice in full here.

Local government’s public health spending falls in real terms

Times remain hard for local government public health spending, according to an analysis by the King’s Fund.

Apparent growth during 2020/21 and 2021/22 was accounted for by additional funds for test and trace and other public health aspects of Covid-19. 

Otherwise spending is flat, and £3 billion below its 2015/16 level in real terms. 

Local government is prioritising statutory services, like health visiting, at the expense of preventive health programmes. 

Alcohol and substance misuse programmes are other big areas of spending.

Read the analysis in full here.

NICE recommends ‘artificial pancreas’ for people who have difficulty controlling diabetes 

NICE has recommended the use of hybrid closed loop systems for managing blood glucose levels in type 1 diabetes – technology described as a step towards an artificial pancreas.

Real world NHS trials provided the data for the NICE review. 

NICE has recommended the tech for people who are unable to control their condition despite using an insulin pump. 

In total, around 105,000 people in England and Wales could be offered the technology subject to a pricing agreement.

Read the full recommendation here.

Hewitt review on ICS governance opens and closes 

The Hewitt review’s call for evidence on the oversight and governance of integrated care systems opened on 13 December 2022 and closed on 9 January 2023.

The review, led by former Secretary of State for Health Patricia Hewitt, has a focus on the availability and use of data across the health and care system for transparency and improvement.

The call for evidence was designed to gather views from patients, the public, and the wider voluntary sector. 

The three-week time scale, spanning the Christmas holiday, has been criticised for allowing little time for responses.

Find out more about the consultation here.

Patient Safety Learning calls for action on pulmonary embolism

An extension of existing awareness campaigns on the warning signs of  pulmonary embolism is one of nine recommendations in a review published by Patient Safety Learning,

It  highlights serious and widespread patient safety concerns relating to the misdiagnosis of pulmonary embolisms, including; 

  • 400 excess deaths attributable to pulmonary embolism misdiagnosis from March 2021 to April 2022 in England and Wales.
  • In parts of England and Wales the number of deaths due to pulmonary embolism were almost 3 times the national average.
  • Clinical teams too often lack the training, expertise and/or equipment to deliver safe and effective pulmonary embolism care.

Read the review in full here.