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Health at home

How to access NHS services online

Get NHS help online

You can access a range of health and care services from home or on the move using your smartphone, computer or tablet.

This page has information to help you:

  • contact and have appointments remotely with a GP or health professional
  • order repeat prescriptions
  • access services if you care for someone else
  • monitor symptoms at home if you have been asked to
  • manage long-term conditions
  • maintain your mental and physical wellbeing using NHS-assured apps

If you need an NHS service, try to do it online first. For example, instead of going to A&E, you could try NHS 111 online first. This helps everyone follow social distancing and helps us to help you.

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

GPs, hospitals or other NHS care providers might suggest certain treatments continue by video or telephone appointment. Your needs and preferences should be considered for this.

Health information and advice

The NHS website is here to help you take control of your health and wellbeing with advice and information on self-care, conditions, treatments and medicines.

Information:

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

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

If you need to contact a GP

The way you access GP surgeries has changed to make sure you get the best possible care safely and quickly.

We want people to go when they need to, in order to keep you and staff safe from coronavirus.

Video: How to access your GP practice

This video explains how you can access a GP surgery, including how to get in contact, the different ways care may be delivered, and how face-to-face appointments have changed.

Accessing GP online services

You can contact your GP surgery by phone or online. If you contact a GP online, you can tell them about your health using an online form or by speaking to someone virtually. 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.

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.

You can also use the NHS App to access your GP, order repeat prescriptions, view your health record and get health advice.

Attending appointments remotely

You may be offered an appointment by phone or video call with a GP, nurse, hospital specialist or other healthcare professional. For video appointments you will need a smartphone, tablet or computer with an internet connection.

The decision to offer you a phone or video appointment will be made by the healthcare professional based on your needs and preferences.

If you have not had a video call before or are unsure how it works, this guide has advice and information to help you feel confident about having a video consultation.

Ordering repeat prescriptions

You can order your repeat medication without needing to go to a GP surgery or pharmacy using:

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.

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

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

Monitoring your symptoms at home

If you have a long-term condition, like high blood pressure or diabetes, you may be asked by a healthcare professional to monitor your symptoms at home.

This may involve keeping a diary or using an app to monitor your health or symptoms. You will be told how to do this, including how and when to share this information with the healthcare professional who helps you to manage your condition.

COVID-19 symptoms

If you are asked to monitor COVID-19 symptoms at home, this might include using a pulse oximeter to take readings.

You may be asked to use an app to log your readings – which your clinician can then check to help monitor your health – or to write the readings in a diary to share with your clinician. You will also be given information about when to get further help.

Video: How to use a pulse oximeter at home

This video explains how to use a pulse oximeter and take readings, why this is important and when to seek help.

If you care for someone else

If you care for someone else, like a child or relative, you may be able to order their repeat prescriptions, book appointments and access their NHS health records online for them. This is called proxy access.

If you are both registered with the same GP surgery, you can use the NHS App to do this. Contact the surgery to find out more about proxy access and to set this up.

Health apps to help you stay well

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

The apps have all been assessed by the NHS as safe to use.

Apps and services made available during COVID-19

The following digital services have been made available free of charge during the coronavirus outbreak.

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 eating and indoor exercise resources to ideas to boost your mental wellbeing, there is plenty of online support out there that can help you take control of your health from home.

  • Better Health

    Get healthier and feel better by making small changes that fit in with your life.

  • Every Mind Matters

    Expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing.