NHS Cheshire and Merseyside has launched a new campaign to increase awareness of online health services after 86% of people surveyed said they wanted to start accessing services online.
The NHS, which marks its 75th anniversary on 5 July, has rapidly advanced its digital transformation over recent years to offer people a faster and more convenient way to manage their health online.
A recent poll of digitally connected adults revealed a strong desire among people who use digital media to make greater use of digital services, with online prescriptions being the most popular service.
Almost all (97%) of those using online health services said it benefitted them.
Despite the significant interest and benefits, three-quarters (77%) of those surveyed said they were unaware of the full extent of health services now accessible online.
As part of its strategy to address this knowledge gap, NHS Cheshire and Merseyside is launching a digital campaign designed to educate tech-enabled adults about the range of healthcare available and encourage them to “give it a go.”
Digital services available through GP practices include giving people access to online appointment booking, ordering repeat prescriptions and viewing your GP record.
The availability of specific services varies depending on the GP surgery and the option to access services in person will always be there. Although a recent announcement published by government and NHS England revealed that most GP practices should allow patients the option to manage their care through the NHS App within the next 12 months.
Professor Rowan Pritchard Jones, Executive Medical Director at Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care System, said, “Online services are convenient, effective and improve access to healthcare. By supporting people who can and want to give digital services a go, and overcoming the barriers to digital inclusion, we can empower people to play a more active role in managing their health and improve outcomes.”
Cheshire and Merseyside is leading the way for digital inclusion. It has invested significantly in its digital and data strategy, including a toolkit and digital exclusion heat map, to help shape ways to improve access and support to individuals who are at risk of becoming digitally excluded.
GP Dan Jones, Digital Transformation Clinical Leads for NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, said, “Our GP practices are constantly adapting to meet the needs of our patients. In today’s digital age, many people prefer the convenience of sending requests online. Online services can really help patients and GP practices, particularly when ordering prescriptions or accessing test results.
“We understand that getting through to GP practices can sometimes be difficult, which is why we also want to highlight alternative avenues for seeking help, such as consulting pharmacists, counsellors and opticians. Embracing online health services, along with utilising these additional resources, can significantly empower patients in managing their health effectively.”
Dr Jones explained that by going ‘digital first’, patients may find they do not require a GP consultation at all and can be helped to see alternative healthcare professionals, such as physiotherapists or nurse practitioners.
By launching its digital campaign, the NHS in Cheshire and Merseyside aims to empower individuals to take advantage of the numerous benefits offered by online services.
As the NHS celebrates its 75th anniversary, it is committed to modernising healthcare delivery and providing efficient, accessible, and patient-centred care for all.
To find out more about the NHS online services that could benefit you and how to access them visit www.cheshireandmerseyside.nhs.uk/give-it-a-go/