• NHS App is currently the most downloaded free app in England
  • Over 12 million new users since NHS COVID Pass was added on 17 May, after joint work by NHSX and NHS Digital
  • 265,000 people registered their organ donation decision for the first time through the app, including 150,000 new registrations since May 2021

More people needing organs could benefit from life saving transplants as hundreds of thousands of new donors have registered their preference using the NHS App.

Speaking today (Tuesday 21 September) at London Tech Week, Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid announced that more than 16 million people have now downloaded the NHS App, with over 12 million new users since the NHS COVID Pass – the COVID-19 vaccination status service – was added on 17 May.

The increase in app downloads could have a life-saving impact as 1.5 million people have now used the NHS app to manage their organ donation decision, with 265,000 of these registering their organ donation for the first time via the app. Over 150,000 of these new registrations have taken place in just four months since May 2021.

Registering a preference on organ donation helps NHS specialist nurses to quickly understand people’s wishes, which can ultimately save lives.

Speaking at London Tech Week, Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:

The benefits of technology are enormous. Nowhere has tech transformation proved its worth more than in health and care.

We all owe so much not just to our doctors, nurses and colleagues on the front line but also the coders, developers and innovators who helped our NHS stay so strong […]

We’ve seen what healthtech can do at a time when health systems around the world were under incredible strain. We must build on the progress that we’ve all seen and deliver this long-awaited digital revolution.

NHS App users are also benefiting from easier access to NHS services. During the past four months, almost 3.2 million repeat prescriptions were ordered and over 268,000 GP appointments booked via the app, saving valuable time for patients and clinicians.

With the demand for digital healthcare services greater than ever, the NHS App provides quick and secure access to a variety of digital health functions and care websites.

Matthew Gould, chief executive of NHSX, said:

This is tech saving lives. By making it easier for people to set their preferences for organ donation, we have thousands more people whose organs might now be used to save others. We will be developing the NHS app so people can use it to drive their own care, set their own preferences, and stay healthy.

Simon Bolton, Interim Chief Executive at NHS Digital, said:

Millions of people downloaded the NHS App over the summer to access their NHS COVID Pass and have been finding out what other services the app has to offer, from booking GP appointments to ordering repeat prescriptions.

We would also encourage people to use the app to register their organ donation decision during Organ Donation Week after tens of thousands of people recorded this important decision through the app during the summer.

Alex Hudson, Head of the NHS Organ Donor Register at NHS Blood and Transplant, says:

Since the new organ donation law came into effect, our priority has been to ensure that each person knows that organ donation is still a choice. By enabling people to check, amend and update their organ donation decision, the NHS app makes it easier than ever for people to manage and control their own organ donation decision.

Even though organ donation has changed to an opt out system, it is important for people to be aware that families will still always be approached before organ donation goes ahead. When a person has proactively registered their organ donation decision, we know this provides great comfort and reassurance for families at what is an incredibly difficult time.

During Organ Donation Week, we urge everyone to take a moment to share your decision with family and friends.

The NHS login service – which supports the NHS App – has most of its users based in London, with more than 20% of Londoners logging onto the service last month, and 40-49 year olds the main users.

Other services available through NHS login include e-Referral services, COVID-19 support and advice, maternity and child health services, online pharmacies, and services to monitor and improve health and wellbeing.

Background information

  • The Secretary of State’s speech can be found here
  • More information about the NHS App can he found here
  • Data shared by NHS Blood and Transplant to mark Organ Donation Week (20th – 26th September) shows that 9 out of 10 families will support organ donation, if they know it is what their relative wanted.

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