NHS Digital has claimed the NHS App is creating an environmental benefit in reducing the number of care journeys to doctors’ surgeries.
It said its own analysis shows an average of 22,000 car trips to GP practices are being saved every month as people arrange repeat prescriptions through the app. This is based on a total of 351,916 transactions via the NHS App that would otherwise have led to a journey to a GP practice (based on previous behaviour).
The organisation has also produced an estimate that around 4,100 fewer bus and taxi journeys and around 5,500 fewer train and motorbike journeys are being made every month with patients using the app instead.
In total, more than 206,000 car, bus and taxi trips to GP practices are estimated to have been saved between April and December 2021.
App users who previously managed their GP appointments and prescriptions online have been excluded from the analysis and it does not include online consultations.
Cutting carbon emissions
Patient journeys to GP practices account for around 17% of the carbon footprint of the NHS, and the journey savings are estimated to have led to a reduction of 78 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, NHS Digital said.
Over 26 million people are now signed up with the NHS App, and in the past four months it has been used to order more than 5.9 million repeat prescriptions and book over 463,000 GP appointments.
Susie Day, NHS Digital head of delivery, NHS App said: “The NHS App is providing people with a convenient and secure way to access healthcare and is having a wider positive environmental impact.
“Sustainability is a key priority for NHS Digital and the organisation is working to reduce its carbon footprint. Last year, use of the app helped save more than 200,000 car journeys, resulting in a significant reduction of carbon emissions.”