NHS launches text message support service for people with Covid-19


People self-isolating with suspected coronavirus symptoms will get regular check-ins from a new NHS messaging service starting this week.

Daily texts will be sent by the NHS to new patients who register their Covid-19 symptoms and contact details with the NHS 111 online service.

The messages, which will come from ‘NHS Covid-19’, will ask patients about their wellbeing and provide support to being who might need it during their isolation period.

The text messages are intended to provide reassurance to those who contact NHS 111 online, complete the assessment, and leave basic information such as their age, mobile number and when their symptoms started.

People who don’t want to receive text messages will be able to opt out at any time.

Health secretary Matt Hancock, who was diagnosed with coronavirus last week, said: “We are doing everything we can to protect the health of the nation during this outbreak, including supporting our fantastic NHS and social care workforce who are looking after people who have symptoms or are self-isolating.

“I know all too well that experiencing symptoms can be worrying, but for those living on their own it will be even more so. Alongside other measures, this new daily text service will reassure our most vulnerable that they are not alone, and also to help them manage their symptoms.”

“Technology, combined with our heroic staff on the frontline, have played a huge role in battling this virus and I encourage everyone to use this new service.”

The new text messaging service has been commissioned by NHSX and built by NHS Digital and the NHS Business Services Authority.

It comes after NHSX launched a £500,000 tech challenge that aims to fast-track digital health service that can support people in self-isolation who may have more complex mental health or social care needs.

Professor Jonathan Benger, chief medical officer at NHS Digital, said: “Across the country, people are playing their part in the battle to save lives and stop the spread of coronavirus by doing the right thing and staying home if they have got symptoms.

“However we know that for many this will be difficult. This new service will help people to get the encouragement, advice and support that they need.”

Dr Simon Eccles, Deputy Chief Executive, NHSX said: “This new service is vitally important to help the NHS to understand the impact of the virus on patients and its progression and spread across the country.”

NHS England advises people visit the NHS.UK/coronavirus page as the first and best port of call for the most up to date information and advice.

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