You could soon be using the NHS app to ‘book private hospital appointments’ | British News

File photo dated 28/04/2021 of a person holding a mobile phone showing the NHS app. Patients are encouraged to use the NHS app for private hospital bookings to reduce wait times. According to The Times, patients are encouraged to use the app at dozens of private diagnostic centers that offer screening for cancer and other conditions, to speed up treatment and increase the capacity of the NHS. Issue date: Monday May 22, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS NHS. Photo credit should read: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire

Patients are offered private hospital appointments via the app (Image: PA)

Patients are encouraged to use the NHS app for private hospital appointments to reduce wait times, reports say.

The current NHS waiting list for routine treatments is more than seven million and is expected to continue to rise.

But the app’s new feature will show patients dozens of private diagnostic centers that offer screening for cancer and other diseases.

A Whitehall source told The Times: “The NHS app is becoming more popular, there are already some features that allow patients to book directly and we want to modernize those booking features and update the options in the app.”

The 106 diagnostic centers offering cancer screening are reportedly set to expand to about 190 with the addition of private facilities.

Only 63.5% of cancer patients begin treatment within two months of being referred for diagnosis.

This despite the 85 percent target, which has not been reached for nine years.

A statement from the Department for Health and Social Care said: “Reducing waiting lists is one of the Government’s top five priorities, with the NHS app playing a crucial role in giving patients more control over their own care and recovery after to support elective care.”

A general view of staff on an NHS hospital ward at Ealing Hospital in London. Picture date: Wednesday January 18, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story INDUSTRY strikes. Photo credit should read: Jeff Moore/PA Wire

The current waiting list is more than seven million (Image: PA)

“We have already begun implementing the work of the Elective Recovery Taskforce and will soon be releasing a full roadmap outlining how we can go further to unlock the independent sector to accelerate patient care and reduce waiting lists. “

Private sector use of the NHS is up to 143% of pre-pandemic levels.

But the government says it has reduced 18-month waiting times by 91% and two-year waiting times have been “virtually eliminated”.

Currently, only 28 hospitals allow patients to manage their appointments through the app.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to confirm the plans in a speech in the coming weeks.

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Justin Scaccy

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