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  1. ITV Report

NHS app to cut patient waiting times by showing which local services are the busiest

The technology was launched by the Health and Care IMPACT Network. Credit: PA

The NHS has launched a free app that shows how busy local services are in the hope of reducing waiting times.

Called NHSquicker, the app enables people in Devon and Cornwall to view current waiting times for local emergency departments and minor injuries units, and estimates how long it would take people to get to a different treatment centres, based on their location.

The app, which is available on Apple and Android operating systems, also provides information about less urgent NHS services, including GPs, pharmacies, sexual health services, dentists and opticians.

The technology was 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 release comes as doctors urge people to consider using alternative urgent care service if the issue is not serious or life-threatening, rather than the local emergency department, especially as hospitals become busier over Christmas and through winter.

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

"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."