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NHS app to launch this year

The NHS is planning to roll out a new app later this year.

The UK government has revealed plans to release a mobile app for NHS patients that will allow them to book appointments, order repeat prescriptions and see their medical files held by the surgery, as well as sign up as organ donors, decide how their health data is used and get advice from the 111 service.

Heath Secretary Jeremy Hunt described the the app as a "birthday present from the NHS to the British people", 70 years after it was founded.

Testing of the app is expected to take place in September, before the program is made available to anyone in England to download in December for both Android and Apple devices.

Speaking to the BBC, Jeremy Hunt said: "In our 70th year as the NHS, we have to look forward as well as backward and the big change that is going to happen in the next decade is the technology revolution."

Patients are already able to carry out many of the app's functions online, but it is believed an app will make the features more widely accessible and more attractive over heading down to their local surgery themselves.

However, Royal College of General Practitioners gave a cautious welcome to the initiative, claiming security must be a priority if patients are able to access their own medical records.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: "Considering that patients' medical history will be accessible on individuals' mobile phones on the apps, we need to ensure that the security and reliability of the identity verification processes being used are of the highest international security standards."

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