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Thursday, 14 December 2017

Webwatch: Free app to help cut patients' waiting time by showing how busy NHS services are

Written by Rod Minchin

A new free app which shows how busy local NHS services are will help people to spend less time waiting for treatment.

The app, NHSquicker, allows people in Devon and Cornwall to view up-to-date waiting times for local emergency departments and minor injuries units, as well as how long it would take them to get to different treatment centres, based on the user's location.

People can also use NHSquicker to find information about less urgent NHS services, such as GPs, pharmacies, sexual health services, dentists and opticians.

NHSquicker is available for smartphones and tablets, on Apple and Android.

The app has been launched by the Health and Care IMPACT Network, a collaboration between the NHS across Devon and Cornwall and academics from the University of Exeter.

The launch comes at a time when doctors are urging people to consider using another urgent care service if the issue is not serious or life-threatening, rather than an emergency department, as hospitals become busier through the winter months.

Dr Nick Mathieu, consultant in emergency medicine and clinical director of the emergency department at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: "This app will give people the information they need so they can make informed decisions about where to go for treatment.

"We hope this will improve things for patients, as they may be able to receive the care they need more quickly and perhaps closer to home than they realise.

"NHS services across England are busier than ever and we hope NHSquicker will increase awareness of the different options for treating minor injuries and illnesses.

"We hope this will contribute to reducing pressure on emergency departments, so they can focus on the most urgent cases."

NHSquicker is an example of how the NHS is using data to improve people's experience of health services.

To download the app, people can head to the app store on their device and search for NHSquicker.

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