Patients across England are now able to choose a pharmacy to have their repeat prescriptions sent to directly, via the NHS App.

The functionality was something that could already be done by people in their GP practices, pharmacies or via some GP and pharmacy online services, but this move means patients can nominate a pharmacy no matter which IT system their GP surgery uses and without having to leave home.

Users can choose from all community high street pharmacies or nominate an online-only pharmacy.

In the initial phase of this functionality being live, those choosing an online-only option will be automatically directed to the online pharmacy’s website to complete their registration. At this stage the service is not available to patients registered at dispensing GP practices.

Polly Bishop, director of digital experience at NHSX, said: “Making it as easy as possible for people to nominate a pharmacy is more important than ever during this pandemic – everything we do to enable people to stay at home contributes to helping the NHS and saving lives.

“The NHS App is just one way of people setting their nominated pharmacy – people can continue to do so in pharmacies or continue to use other online services already offering this functionality if they choose.

“We have introduced this function to ensure that all patients have the opportunity to make use of it regardless of what other IT systems their GP surgeries use.”

In addition to the new functionality, the app also provides direct access to 111 online and the NHS coronavirus advice webpages, both available without needing to register or log in.

It is one of several digital tools being promoted on the NHS website through a guide to accessing NHS services online, entitled “Health at home”.

Usage of the NHS App has skyrocketed since the coronavirus outbreak began. Data from NHS Digital revealed use of the app increased by 111% in March with a total of 119,512 people registering to use it, compared to 56,655 in February.