19 September 2018
An app which gives people real-time information about their local urgent NHS services has been shortlisted in two of the most prestigious national awards: the Health Service Journal (HSJ) Awards and the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards.
The app, NHSquicker, shows people in Devon and Cornwall up-to-date waiting times for the five closest emergency departments and minor injuries units, as well as how long it would take them to get there, based on the user’s location. NHSquicker can also be used to find information about less urgent NHS services, such as GPs, pharmacies, sexual health services, dentists and opticians.
The team behind the app – the Health and Care IMPACT Network – brings together the local NHS and the University of Exeter.
NHSquicker has been shortlisted in the ‘Enhancing Care by Sharing Data and Information’ category of the HSJ Awards, one of the most sought after accolades in British healthcare. The annual award recognises the finest achievements in the NHS. The winners will be announced on Wednesday 21 November.
Just over a week later, the University of Exeter will learn if they have won a THE Award in the ‘Technological Innovation of the Year’ category. A THE award is considered an ‘Oscar’ of the higher education sector. The ceremony is due to take place on Thursday 29 November.
Dr Nick Mathieu, consultant in emergency medicine and clinical director of the emergency department at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: "This app gives people the information they need to make better decisions about where they can access treatment. We hope people find this useful, as they may be able to receive the care they need more quickly and perhaps closer to home than they realise.
“NHS services are busier than ever and NHSquicker aims to increase awareness of the different options for treating minor injuries and illnesses. We hope that in time this will contribute to reducing pressure on emergency departments, so they can focus on the most urgent cases.”
Professor Nav Mustafee, from the University of Exeter Business School and the co-founder of the IMPACT network, said: “This app is useful for everyone, whether you are a parent or guardian with small children, a carer for a loved one or relative, or whether you are downloading it for yourself to keep for when you need it. Real-time waiting times are the first step in helping to bring up-to-date, appropriate information to people and the project team will continue to explore ways the app can be developed.
“Being nominated for awards in two different sectors - healthcare and higher education - is such an achievement for our network members, as it demonstrates what we can achieve when we collaborate and co-develop solutions.”
NHSquicker has been a real team-effort, and has developed from a vision to a success. The app currently covers services across Devon and Cornwall, and the team is working with other NHS organisations with a view to covering other areas in future.
Professor Adrian Harris, consultant emergency physician and medical director at both the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust and Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “It has been great to see frontline teams working together with academic partners in such an innovative way to come up with real solutions that make a difference for people. What is even more exciting is increasingly seeing these ideas being shared and applied by organisations across Devon, Cornwall and beyond.”
NHSquicker is available for smartphones and tablets, on Apple and Android and can be downloaded by searching ‘NHSquicker’ on the app store. A PC version is also available. Visit www.nhsquicker.co.uk for more information.