The NHS app is giving millions of people in England the ability to view their prescriptions for the first time.

Prescriptions that have been issued and the prescribed medication will be available to view in the app and those waiting for elective treatments will be able to see the average wait time for their procedure at their local trust.

The update will make the access to care “easier for everyone”, Health Secretary Victoria Atkins said.

“Today’s update will mean ordering and collecting your prescriptions can be done with a few taps of your fingers,” she said.

“This will not only benefit anyone getting a prescription, it will also ease pressures on our hard-working pharmacists and GPs – freeing up valuable time for patients and helping to cut waiting lists.”

How will the app save time and how does it work?

Each repeat prescription order from the app saves GP practices three minutes and saves patients 18 minutes with each online order, NHS England said.

Dr Vin Diwakar, medical director for transformation at NHS England, said: “Giving all patients in England direct access to prescription information through the app means they’ll know when their prescription is issued and avoid delays in collection.

“The new feature will also mean people who haven’t set a nominated pharmacy will be able to present the barcode in the app to a pharmacy of their choice without needing a paper version.”

Ambulance response categories explained

It comes as more than 8,500 patients in England were being treated in virtual wards in December with the NHS aiming to curb hospital wait times.

Figures published by NHS Digital last month revealed 8,586 patients were treated virtually in December 2023, up from 7,886 in November.

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Virtual wards allow patients to receive care at home with clinical staff using apps or wearable technology to monitor them remotely.

They can also prescribe medications, order blood tests and administer fluids intravenously if necessary.

They are recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) to treat those with frailty, acute respiratory infections and, since October, heart failure.