New analysis carried out by NHS Digital has found that the NHS App is saving an average of 22,000 car journeys to GP practices every month.

The results showed that around 200,000 appointments and repeat prescriptions arranged through the NHS App between April and December last year would previously have been made by people driving to their local surgery.

The NHS App allows users to access a range of NHS services on their smartphone or tablet. It was launched in 2018 and offers services including symptom checking and triage; appointment booking; repeat prescription ordering; access to patient records; national data opt-out; and organ donation preference.

This latest research into the app also estimates that around 4,100 fewer bus and taxi journeys and around 5,500 fewer train and motorbike journeys are being made every month, with patients using the app instead.

Overall, more than 206,000 car, bus and taxi trips to GP practices are estimated to have been saved between April and December 2021.

Patient journeys to GP practices account for around 17% of the carbon footprint of the NHS, and the journey savings are estimated to have led to carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction of 78 tonnes.

The analysis of patient journeys is based on a total of 351,916 transactions via the NHS App that would otherwise have led to a journey to a GP practice (based on previous behaviour).

Susie Day, head of delivery of the NHS App at NHS Digital, said: “By using the NHS App to manage appointments and order repeat prescriptions online thousands of patient journeys to GP practices are being saved every month.

“The NHS App is providing people with a convenient and secure way to access healthcare and is having a wider positive environmental impact. Sustainability is a key priority for NHS Digital and the organisation is working to reduce its carbon footprint. Last year, use of the app helped save more than 200,000 car journeys, resulting in a significant reduction of carbon emissions.”

The NHS App celebrated turning three in January with over 22million users, but now more than 26million people are signed-up. In the last four months, more than 5.9million repeat prescriptions were ordered and over 463,000 GP appointments were booked via the NHS App, saving valuable time for patients and clinicians.