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Health at home

How to access NHS services online

Get NHS help online

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak means people need to be able to access health and care services from home – you can get NHS help using your smartphone, computer or tablet.

This page has information to help you:

  • order repeat prescriptions
  • contact your GP
  • find out about dental treatment
  • manage long-term conditions
  • maintain your mental and physical wellbeing

If you need an NHS service, try to do it online first. This helps everyone to follow social distancing.

When to go in person

You should still go to hospital in a serious or life-threatening emergency, or if you feel very unwell.

You should also continue to attend appointments for ongoing treatment, unless you have been told not to.

Otherwise, speak to the GP, hospital or other NHS care provider. They will tell you if you need to go in person.

Health information and advice

The NHS website has information and advice on:

Information:

For urgent medical advice, the NHS 111 online website will tell you when and where to get help, and can arrange for you to be contacted by a nurse if needed.

Only call 111 if you are unable to get help online. In an emergency, dial 999.

Ordering repeat prescriptions

Did you know you can order repeat prescriptions online, without needing to go to a GP surgery or pharmacy?

You can collect a prescription yourself, or ask a friend, relative or volunteer to collect it for you.

You could also speak to your pharmacy about delivering your medicine to your home, rather than needing to collect it.

You can order repeat prescriptions using:

The NHS App also allows you to set and change which pharmacy your prescription is sent to, so you could pick one that will deliver your medicine.

If you do go into a pharmacy, make sure you follow social distancing rules to protect yourself and the staff.

If you need to contact a GP

Contacting a GP remotely

This video explains more about contacting a GP, online consultations and how GP appointments from home work.

Video transcript: Contacting a GP remotely

Hi I'm Nam, I'm a GP and a clinical lead at the NHS website.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, how you contact your GP, nurse and other GP surgery staff will be different at the moment.

This is to avoid face-to-face contact whenever possible and help stop the spread of coronavirus.

You should try to contact your surgery online through your GP surgery's website or by using the NHS App or GP online services, or by ringing your GP surgery.

Online consultation

To get advice, help or support, go to your GP surgery website and fill in the secure online form, to give your GP the information they might need to help you.

This is known as an online consultation, or an online assessment, and helps the practice decide how they need to help you. Where possible your online consultation will be passed to your regular GP or member of the team.

After you complete an online consultation, you will get a response from your surgery. This could be an online message, such as an email or a text message, or a phone or video call.

Video or telephone consultation

If a GP, surgery nurse or other member of staff need to speak to you about your online consultation, they will contact you.

You might be asked to have a telephone conversation with your GP or most appropriate person in the practice team. Or they may ask you to use a link, which they will send to you, to join a video consultation at a specific time.

Video consultation

During your video consultation you can speak to your doctor or nurse, in a private setting, as if you were both in the same room.

You will need:

  • an internet connection
  • a well-lit, quiet and private space – you can also have a family member with you, if you would like to
  • a computer, tablet or smartphone

You will need to allow microphone and camera access for the video consultation to work, making sure the built-in camera, microphone and volume are switched on.

Some video consultation systems let you test it is working before you start the call.

If you need to show the doctor or nurse your problem, you can use the video camera. If it's a place that is hard to reach, such as an injury to the back of your head, you may find it easier to take a good-quality photo or recording of the problem beforehand, so it can be shared.

You can ask the same questions you would if this was a face-to-face appointment at the GP surgery, and it is a good idea to write down any advice or next steps they give you.

While the video consultation will not be recorded, the doctor or nurse will make notes in your GP record in the usual way.

You might receive a follow-up online message or text containing further information or links to advice.

If something goes wrong during your video consultation, such as the connection being interrupted, your healthcare professional will call you back.

If the doctor or nurse feels you need to be seen in person, they will arrange a face-to-face appointment for you or a home visit.

Online consultations should not be used if you need very urgent or emergency care.

Call 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.

If you need urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service. Only call 111 if you are unable to get help online.

Thank you.

GP surgeries can be contacted online. You will be able to tell your GP about your health using an online form or by speaking to someone online. This is called an online consultation.

You can also make requests and ask for information. Visit a GP surgery website to find out how to do this.

GP online services

You may already use a GP's online services. This is an account on a website or app that you can use to access some services online. Patient Access, Practice Plus and myGP are examples of GP online service providers.

If you already have an account to access your GP online, log in to see the services you can use. If not, visit your GP surgery's website to find out about signing up.

You can also use the NHS App to access GP services. You will need to download and set up the app first if you have not used it before.

GP and hospital appointments from home

Most appointments with a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional will be via phone call, or by a video call using your smartphone, tablet or computer if they need to see you.

Many hospitals, outpatients clinics and mental health care providers also offer video consultations for some patients. Your health or care professional will decide if a video consultation is a suitable way to provide care and advice for you.

If you have not had a video call before or are unsure how it works, it is an easy process and there is nothing to worry about.

Dental treatment

In England, some routine dental treatments are available. Changes have been made to keep you and the dental team safe during treatment.

If you need to speak to your dentist, contact them by phone or email – only visit if you've been told to.

If you think you need urgent dental treatment:

They can give you advice, help you contact an urgent dental service or arrange treatment if needed.

Do not contact a GP. They cannot provide dental treatment.

Ways to manage long-term conditions

It's important during this time to keep managing any physical or mental health conditions you may have.

The NHS Apps Library has a wide variety of apps and online tools that can help with this, covering different conditions and categories like diabetes, pregnancy and maternity, and mental wellbeing.

The apps have all been assessed as safe to use.

Apps and services made available during the coronavirus outbreak

The following digital services for managing long-term conditions have been made available free of charge during the COVID-19 pandemic.

DigiBete

The DigiBete app and website have resources for awareness, education, training and support for children and young people with type 1 diabetes and their families.

My Type 1 Diabetes

Adults with type 1 diabetes can use My Type 1 Diabetes, which includes videos and e-learning courses, to understand more about the condition and how to manage it.

ThinkNinja

A mental health app for 10 to 18-year-olds, ThinkNinja allows young people to learn about mental health and emotional wellbeing, and develop skills to build resilience and stay well.

More for your mental and physical wellbeing

From health communities and forums to eating and indoor exercise resources, there is plenty of online support out there that can help you take control of your health from home.