Rapid responses are electronic comments to the editor. They enable our users to debate issues raised in articles published on bmj.com. A rapid response is first posted online. If you need the URL (web address) of an individual response, simply click on the response headline and copy the URL from the browser window. A proportion of responses will, after editing, be published online and in the print journal as letters, which are indexed in PubMed. Rapid responses are not indexed in PubMed and they are not journal articles. The BMJ reserves the right to remove responses which are being wilfully misrepresented as published articles.
The title and tone of this article suggest that NHS territory is being opened up to the private sector. However, the history of events in this sector sheds a rather different light on the NHS App.
Over many years policymakers in government and NHS England have encouraged industry to develop apps to fulfill a wide range of functions, which companies both large and small have done. Some have been funded centrally, some not, many incurring significant cost and risk for the suppliers.
In 2018 the NHS decided to launch its own App, very largely duplicating functions already available, some of them widespread.
The difference with the NHS was that with state funding it could afford a £6.35m development contract with Kainos, and spend its own internal resources on marketing the app to patients. Its unique brand and political attention should make this an easy task.
The article continues "The [NHS App] library also shows the drawbacks of relying on third party providers:", presumably blaming potential providers for failing to do what they are supposed to do. Our own application to add askmyGP into the library was submitted on 20 July 2019 and still 5 out of 7 technical requirements are "Awaiting review".
Founder and Chief Executive of GP Access Ltd, suppliers of askmyGP