NHS to offer patients diagnosis on their smartphones

Patients will be able to diagnose themselves on their smartphones under plans to modernise the health service to be announced today.

The new one-stop NHS website will enable patients in England to enter their symptoms online and get tailored advice or a call-back from a health care professional.

Under the radical digital shake-up, patients will also be able to find out which hospitals offer the best treatment, book appointments and order prescriptions.

The service, which is hoped to be ready by the end of next year, will allow patients to compare how well their local health service performs against others in key areas such as cancer, dementia, diabetes, mental health, learning disabilities and maternity care.

Patients will also be able to register with a GP and download their secure medical records.

  • 'Smartphone generation'

Jeremy Hunt wants to give the smartphone generation easier access to NHS services. Credit: PA

The move, which is to be announced by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt at the NHS Expo event in Manchester, aims to give the smartphone generation easier access to NHS services.

"We live in the age of the smartphone, and we want the NHS to reflect that," Mr Hunt said.

"Our new plans will make it easier for patients to get medical support and information they need, and should encourage more of us to use the growing range of online NHS services available.

"This is a way of supplementing patients seeing their doctor in a more conventional, face-to-face setting, and crucially it will give people more choice and the opportunity to access healthcare in a way that works for them."

  • 'Digital NHS needed'

The new website will be launched next year. Credit: PA

The announcement comes as a review into IT in the NHS is published.Professor Robert Wachter was commissioned by the Department of Health to look in to the English health and care system's approach to the further implementation of IT in healthcare.

He made a series of recommendations, including highlighting "exemplar" NHS trusts that are leading the way in the technology revolution.

Responding to the review, Mr Hunt said he will make 12 trusts global exemplars, which will help other organisations learn from their experience.

He also outlined plans to introduce a new academy dedicated to training NHS staff in digital skills.

In the past former health leaders were heavily criticised over a failed multi-billion pound IT system.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will make 12 NHS trusts global exemplars. Credit: PA

Ministers shelved an ambitious scheme, designed to create electronic patient records for use across the NHS in England, in 2011.

Matthew Swindells, NHS England's national director for operations and information, said:

Patient's records are stored at the Temple Fortune Health Centre GP Practice near Golders Green, London. Credit: PA