back to article You know what the NHS really needs? Influencers, right guys? #blessed

The NHS is seeking nurses and health care professionals to become social media "influencers" to promote its app. The NHS app went live in January and allows people to check their symptoms using NHS 111 online, book appointments and order repeat prescriptions if their surgery has signed up to it. It was developed with software …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "The best advert for our NHS is our extraordinary staff"

    That has to be the truth. You've got to have an extraordinary staff to put up with the dismal state of IT, the continual mismanagement and general waste of resources that is going on now, and yet continue to do their level best, whatever the circumstances.

    1. ds6 Bronze badge

      Re: "The best advert for our NHS is our extraordinary staff"

      I honestly feel bad for the constant BS they must put up with, on top of being in the medical field in general. Now they have another thing that will inevitably break and that everyone will need to be trained on.

      PS: Sure hope their next ransomware outbreak doesn't break their 6 million app too. How will gran know what kind of hemorrhoids she has now??

      PPS: Sure hope the app database doesn't get compromised because it's stored in the a Khaos—sorry, Kainos S3 bucket with default credentials.

  2. johnB

    £6,400,000 !

    They were robbed.

    This is one of the worst public IT sites I've ever come across.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: £6,400,000 !

      I'll bet the Devs didn't even see a fraction of that.

  3. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge


    I don't get it. Are the NHS touting for business?

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Eh?

      I think they think by using an app it will solves every single problem in the entire world.

    2. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      Re: Eh?

      No, this is the first step of The American Dream®.

      The world-famous U.S. health system is about to redefine life and debt in the U.K.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    But I thought the NHS was trying to cure cancer?

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Influencers?

      If they could "cure" both then that'd be grand...

      Until then fire will have to do for the latter -->

    2. John 110

      Re: Influencers?

      "But I thought the NHS was trying to cure cancer?"

      Off Topic:

      Biomedical research cures cancer. But it's not in the interests of companies who manufacture anti-cancer drugs that cancer be cured, but just in case a cure is found, they charge as obscenely much as they possibly can for the drugs while there is still a market for them. They also cancel research projects that might help the human race, but eat into their profits if they succeed.

      The NHS is trying to cope with toxic capitalism.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: Influencers?

        For the downvoter - have a look at for evidence that important trials vanish when they don't produce the "right" answers. If you have time, read "Bad Pharma" by Ben Goldacre - you will probably take a different stance afterwards. If you still aren't convinced, have a look at the AllTrials campaign -

        One of the requirements for trials to get research ethics approval these days is that they are registered on a public database to reduce the chances of this happening.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NHS England, Not "NHS".

    Come on 'Reg, every time you make the same mistake.

    NHS England are doing this, don't tar us all with the same daft brush, at least give us credit for our own individual stupid mistakes.

    1. Da Weezil

      Re: NHS England, Not "NHS".

      The Welsh one is less than amazing too. Despite already having a log in set up, and having gone as far as entering the log in page url manually and saving it, the site persists in sending you to the registration page where you are expected to input a unique ID code issued via your GP practice, which makes using a password manager rather annoying as despite this entering username and password in the "wong page" clicking on the "I already have a username" link that takes you to the log in removes some of the input from the same fields in the next page.

      Raising this with NHS Wales resulted in a "thats just how it works cos our IT contractors set it up that way and youll just have to put up with it."

      Not very helpful - nor correct as the site is obviously badly constructed and isnt operating correctly.

      Confuses the hell out of my dyslexic sister when she tries to use it.

      The sad thing is my GP Practice used to use the "My Surgery" site that operated flawlessly, so clearly this is another waste of money by the muppets at Cardiff bay with public money being laid out on second rate and poorly constructed IT. Raising this with my AM did no good and I wonder why it is we spend so much supporting that whole useless set up.

  6. Bottle_Cap

    software company Kainos and cost £6.4m....

    Anyone else read this as chaos?

    How about *more* Nurses as opposed to those already over-stretched taking on more (pointless) work?

    1. BrownishMonstr

      Wouldn't it be cheaper to prevent people going to the hospital in the first place? Better if they didn't even need to attend, still good if they needed to but still don't turn up. The best hospital is the one with just admin staff. No deaths, or outbreaks. But you need the admin staff to maintain the building and give the employees their paychecks.

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Wouldn't it be cheaper to prevent people going to the hospital in the first place?

        Yes, but as successive UK governments have managed to systematically remove most of the community based alternatives, and made GP services almost impossible to access, it's no surprise that people have to turn up at the main hospitals for minor issues. Having an "App" won't fix that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Wouldn't it be cheaper to prevent people going to the hospital in the first place?

          Having an "App" won't fix that.

          My guess is that an App can try and fixe some of it. Most symptom trees will likely end in a "It's nothing. Buy some Ibuprofen [Affiliate-Link] and you'll be fine." diagnosis. No visit required. Optional bluetooth-paired blood pressure monitor and stool sample analyser available [here].

          If(f) the appointment booking actually works, it can reduce queues and phone calls in the administrative offices.

          If even the health care plan and medical history features can be made to work in a safe and sound manner, it might improve quality and efficiency of medical care in general. That's a very vague if.

          1. JohnMurray

            NHS App.


            Bring app up, uses fingerprint ID to access.

            Home page: "Welcome My John M*****". DOB/NHS number.

            List of "things":

            Check Symptoms>

            Book and Manage Appts>

            Order Repeat Prescription>

            View Medical Record>

            Manage Organ Donation Decision>

            Pretty basic, but still works....I make appts via it, and repeat prescriptions.

            Any simpler and it would be useless, any more complex and many people wouldn't use it.

            No, I don't work with, or for, the NHS.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              They supply the iphone... right?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re. How about *more* Nurses

      I believe this issue has already been resolved via brexit nursit exodus ;)

  7. steviebuk Silver badge

    Shakes head...

    "NHS 111 online"

    Is it as bad as the phone line. Tell them you are short od breath and every time, even if you tell them you don't need one, they'll send an ambulance. The 111 service is fucking shit. Making an app for it ain't gonna help.

    1. Oengus

      Re: Shakes head...

      Hypercondriacs of UK unite... Now you have an official app to diagnose yourself rather than using google search...

    2. JohnMurray

      Re: Shakes head...

      Short of breath = one symptom of heart problem.

      Heart problem = serious.

      But in reality, they check your history with you....have you asthma etc.

      They can also access your summary-care-record for history.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shakes head...

        Conversely, a friend (hence anon.), who blacked out at home (rather terrifyingly). 111 were unconcerned and offered them an appointment with a nurse. They rather wisely instead got a relative to take them to an emergency centre where it was discovered to be an epileptic fit brought on by a brain tumour.

        111 essentially seems to exist to tell you whether or not you're having a heart attack or stroke.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: Shakes head...

      111 service is awful. I had the misfortune to try it a couple of years ago and ended up speaking to a doctor who expressed his disgust that I should bother him with what he thought was a trivial matter and he offered no help at all.

      The following day I went to A&E and was rushed into the operating theatre for emergency surgery and I remained in hospital for a further three days. Apparently someone in identical circumstances had died a few weeks earlier but they got to me just in time. They told me that another 24 hours delay would have been fatal either through sepsis or suffocation.

      So much for the condescending 111 doctor who was disgusted that I'd phoned with such a trivial problem.

  8. Chris G Silver badge


    By then the NHS or what is left of it, is likely to be called Medicare or something similar if Jaffa junior is still in charge.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Based on experience with my GP's surgery

    If you're on holiday or business abroad and need to make an appointment, order a prescription or use the facility in any way, so the result is ready when you return home, forget it unless you are savvy enough to use a VPN with a UK server

    Ditto if you work - say- in a UK office of a multinational, whose internet access is over the corporate network, to the Internet servers abroad

    Got caught out a few times before I twigged what was going on

    Nope, no matter how urgent, forget it.

    Really well thought out.


    Anyone from SystmOne reading this? Go stick your head in a pig

    1. Sam Haine

      Re: Based on experience with my GP's surgery

      SystmOne - keeping the Windows 3.1 user experience alive in 2019.

  10. Oengus

    21st century advertising agencies

    It seems like influencers are the "unpaid" advertising agencies of the 21st century. I will never know for sure as influencers only apply to apps like Faecesbook, Twatter and Instaspam none of which I use.

    I suppose that if you spend 6.4 million pounds on the app there would be no budget available to promote it through the usual channels and being an app your most likely users are probably on one (or more) of the other apps mentioned above.

    1. JohnMurray

      Re: 21st century advertising agencies

      There is a promotion poster for the nhs app on the wall in my GPs' waiting room....and they can't use the money for more nurses, because it is not allocated for that...and they can't afford more nurses anyway.... (and after creating a hostile environment for migrants, getting any to work here is getting harder)

      If you don't like it, you can always buy healthcare insurance. (you'll still end-up in an NHS hospital though.....very few private hospitals have intensive care units....they use the NHS!)

  11. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    Looking forward to soft-focus PhotoShopped pics of doctors and nurses doing yoga poses at sunset. #ambulancelife

  12. Muscleguy Silver badge

    There is no such position as ‘The UK Health Secretary’ because there is no such beast as the UK NHS. Right from the start the Scottish and Irish versions were separate and the Welsh one became separate. Health is entirely Devolved here in Scotland, we even have our own version of NICE, not even so much as an internal market let alone privatisation (The first SNP govt rolled the little we had back). It runs much more efficiently than the English version.

    Thus Matt Hancock is the ENGLISH health secretary in the UK Govt. Hi writ doesnae run north of the border, thank goodness.

    Icon chosen with the above in mind.

  13. Robert D Bank

    So this app can access your medical records?! Fucking wonderful. How long before that gets hacked. Not happy.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      yeah! it'll be all over the news about that time you had your tonsils out when you were 12

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An NHS IT project that cost only £6mil? I call shenanigans.

  15. Wonder Dog

    Let's be honest... the UK can't actually afford to keep the NHS in its current format. No matter how much of the countries wealth us thrown at it, demand will always swamp supply.

    You can put up taxes as much as you want and it'll just get sucked up and spat out with little or no improvement.

    Improvements in It and digitisation might help ..but that's just part of the story. It really needs cultural change.. and that's much much harder than changing IT systems

    Sure it's better than the US health system..but you are measuring against the wrong system.

    Not sure that my comments are relevant in an IT publication... ... but .at leadt I feel better now ,

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It was in the paper the other day that midwives are angry that foreigners are being charged fees when giving birth in an NHS hospital. Well, OK, but if the remit is “healthcare for the entire world” then we can’t really complain that it’s underfunded, because we can’t afford to do that.

    2. Medical Cynic

      Agreed. Even a token co-payment would reduce the ludicrous trivia that GPs have to waste their time dealing with.

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