From your prescriptions to your health records and appointments. Not having quick and easy access to the things you need for your health can really affect your wellbeing.

In this lesson, you will learn how to use the internet for your health needs. You will learn how using online services can help you to get information and support quicker and easier. You’ll also be able to find health advice and book appointments online.

KEY LEARNINGS

  • Use your local NHS website or app.
  • Book appointments at the doctors, dentists and more.
  • Get support and advice.

Read time

8 mins

Why manage your healthcare online?

Online, you can access and manage your healthcare with more ease. Many doctors and dentists now allow you to access their services online. This means you can get the help you need without having to spend time on the phone or having to physically visit their clinic.

You can also keep your documents and details on your mobile device so you can use them on the move.

Let’s look at some of the websites and apps that can help you now.

 

Using the NHS website

As our national health service, the NHS’ online services will be the first place you should go for all your health needs online. Each country in the UK has their own NHS website. There you can find details about the services they offer. You can also find information about different health issues and get support through ‘111’. 111 is a service offered by the NHS to help you get medical help. If it’s an emergency you should phone 999.

Each website in the UK will differ slightly in what they offer. If you can’t find what you need, it’s always helpful to refer back to the NHS website, which can be used as a main hub for the other websites.

 

You can find your local site here:

On the English website, you can:

  • Find information on the NHS and their services
  • Find out more about health, health care and social care
  • Get access to and use health and care services
  • Find out more about what to do when health events happen
  • Get support to live a healthier lifestyle
  • Find services and details of what they offer
  • Share feedback on the services you have received
  • Find links to more specialist support and information
  • Get help understanding your rights when it comes to your treatments and care
  • Order prescriptions
  • Access NHS 111 to get medical help
  • Get coronavirus support

 

On the Welsh website, you can:

  • Check your symptoms
  • Get coronavirus support
  • Find out more about the NHS 111 service
  • Find out more about health, health care and social care
  • Find out more about living a healthier lifestyle
  • Find services near you
  • Ask health questions
  • Share feedback on the services you have received

 

On the Scottish website, you can:

  • Find out more about health care and symptoms
  • Find out more about tests and treatments
  • Find out more about living a healthy lifestyle
  • Get access to health news and events
  • Keep up to date with national health news
  • Find services which are local to you
  • Get help understanding your rights when it comes to your treatments and care
  • Access self-help guides
  • Get support with coronavirus

 

On the Northern Irish website, you can:

  • Find out about your local services and how to use them
  • Find out more about local health and social care services
  • Get support with coronavirus
  • Find useful links which can help you to get health care help
  • Find out more about living a healthier lifestyle

 

NHS 111

Aside from the NHS websites, you can get access to medical advice by calling the phone number 111. There are also online 111 services for England, Scotland and Wales. 111 can help you to check your symptoms and get support. They can also send you to other services through their phoneline. The online services should only be used for advice that is not urgent. It allows you to get information at a time that suits you. You can also get help if you don't have a GP.

 

The NHS app

For those in England or Isle of Man, there is an NHS app. You can access it through your device’s app store.

 

You can use the NHS app to:

  • Get coronavirus support and access to details like your vaccination records and test results
  • Order repeat prescriptions
  • Book appointments with your GP
  • Get advice on your health
  • View your health records
  • Register your choices on whether you would want to donate organs
  • Manage what personal details the NHS has on you and your health
  • View your NHS number, which you can be asked for by NHS services
  • If your GP or hospital offers services through the app you can use it to talk to them and to book and manage appointments and care plans

 

Booking appointments online

The NHS app should work in most cases in England to book appointments and manage your medicines.

Outside of England and where the NHS app doesn’t work, you may still be able to book appointments online. It all depends on your local health services and what they have set up. Doctors, dentists and other providers can all have online services. Some will give you the ability to book and change appointments. Others will use their websites as a place to find out contact details and other information. Some might not have a website.

We recommend that you check if you can use the NHS app first. If you can’t, use your local NHS website to find the websites of your local services. If you already know which service you are looking for, you can go straight to their website or search for them on a search engine.

Some providers might not have a website, but their contact details will likely still be available through an online search. From there you can contact them and get the support you need.

 

Coronavirus support

The best place to look for help with coronavirus is on your local NHS website or the NHS app. There is also information which is kept up to date on the government website.

With a lot of websites having false or out of date information, we recommend you always use the websites above to check. For your COVID pass, there’s different information depending on where you live. A COVID pass helps to prove what vaccinations you have had. It can also be used to show your COVID-19 test results.

In England, you can get your COVID pass on the NHS app. You can also use the online NHS COVID pass service. There is more information on the NHS website here.

In Scotland, you can download their NHS Scotland COVID Status app. You can also download or request a paper copy online. You can find information on this and how to get support here.

In Wales, you can apply online for an NHS COVID Pass. You do this through the NHS UK website. The information and links you need can be found here.

In Northern Ireland, applying for your COVID Passes is done through the government website. You can find all the links you need here.

 

Looking up medical advice online

The internet can really help you with your health. It is still best to be careful how you use it. You can easily use search and the NHS websites to look up symptoms and get support with your health. On the other hand, these online services can’t replace or match the support of a doctor or healthcare services. You should also be wary that advice on non-NHS websites might not be accurate.

A doctor can see you in person and assess any issues you have. This can help them get a better picture of what you, personally, need. The internet, on the other hand, can only give you general advice. It can’t be used to get a clear picture of what is wrong. So, use all the online resources on the NHS websites and use search engines, but always speak to a healthcare professional to get a proper diagnosis and care plan.

 

Module complete!

Well done on finishing this lesson! You should now know the basics of where you can go for support with your health online. We suggest you keep your learning going with our lesson 'Managing your bills and utilities online'. It will help you to compare utility providers and choose which ones are right for you. It will also help you to manage your spending on bills online

 

Up next for you:

Next module: Managing your bills and utilities online

Back to: Using online services

Scottish Widows Be Money Well is committed to providing information in a way that is accessible and useful for our users. This information, however, is not in any way intended to amount to authority or advice on which reliance should be placed. You should seek professional advice as appropriate and required. Any sites, products or services named in this module are just examples of what's available. Scottish Widows does not endorse the services they provide. The information in this module was last updated on 31st Oct 2022.

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