Technology

NHS app download rise prompts surge in people registering organ donor preference

The software now has 16 million users, 12 million of whom joined from May 17 when the Covid Pass was introduced.

More than 16 million people have now downloaded the NHS app, spurring hundreds of thousands to register their organ donation preference.

The software for England has experienced a surge of more than 12 million users since May 17 when the Covid Pass feature, used to prove vaccination status for entry to events and to travel abroad, was introduced.

Some 1.5 million people have now registered their organ donation decision through the platform, with 265,000 of those doing it via the app for the first time, according to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Around 150,000 people registered their preference from May.

It comes after a new “opt-out” organ donation system came into effect last year, known as Max and Keira’s law.

The law is named after Keira Ball, who died aged nine in 2017, and Max Johnson, now aged 13, who was saved by her heart.

Following the law’s arrival in England, families are still consulted before organ donation goes ahead.

“Since the new organ donation law came into effect, our priority has been to ensure that each person knows that organ donation is still a choice,” said Alex Hudson, head of the NHS Organ Donor Register at NHS Blood and Transplant.

“By enabling people to check, amend and update their organ donation decision, the NHS app makes it easier than ever for people to manage and control their own organ donation decision.

“Even though organ donation has changed to an opt-out system, it is important for people to be aware that families will still always be approached before organ donation goes ahead.

“When a person has proactively registered their organ donation decision, we know this provides great comfort and reassurance for families at what is an incredibly difficult time.”

Speaking at London Tech Week, Health Secretary Sajid Javid welcomed the “enormous” benefits of technology in transforming health and care.

“We all owe so much not just to our doctors, nurses and colleagues on the front line but also the coders, developers and innovators who helped our NHS stay so strong,” he said.

“We’ve seen what health tech can do at a time when health systems around the world were under incredible strain.

“We must build on the progress that we’ve all seen and deliver this long-awaited digital revolution.”

Over the last four months, almost 3.2 million repeat prescriptions were also ordered within the app, while more than 268,000 GP appointment bookings were made.

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