In March we published a report about Ask NHS. We wanted to understand the patient experience of using Ask NHS.

We wrote to Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Ask NHS developer, Sensely, asking them for a response to our recommendations.

Some of the recommendations we made are below:

  • Ensure that patients/users have a clear understanding of the triage system now in place in General Practice. So that expectations about the outcomes of using Ask NHS are more realistic. (This should cover expectations around likely outcomes and “over-cautious” referrals to 999)
  • Work closely with patients and clinicians to review the suitability of the Ask NHS symptom checker for people who want to report a range of symptoms and who have complex conditions
  • Review the suitability of the Ask NHS app and desktop site for users of British Sign Language
  • Consider allowing people to answer the symptom checker questions on behalf of someone for whom they care.

As a result of this, the CCG said:

We recognise how important it is for patients who want to use digital solutions like AskFirst (the new name for AskNHS) to be able to do so with confidence. This technology helps them to take control of their health and improve their access to GPs and other clinical services.

Our goal is to make sure our healthcare services fully integrate with digital solutions. So patients can be assured they are being signposted to the right service at the right time. The CCG continues to work with its partners to ensure patients who want to use online options have an effective, user-friendly digital front door to NHS services, which can be accessed 24/7.

These digital solutions are being continually improved to meet patients’ needs. We are extremely grateful for the feedback contained in this report to help us ensure products like AskFirst are working for our patients. Also to highlight any areas that we can work to improve.

Lastly, we would like to say thank you for responding to our recommendations.

Response – CCG and Sensely – Ask NHS Report 

Published on 30 Jun, 2021 (updated 14 Mar, 2023)

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