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NHS App video campaign supports communities in north east London

An innovative local campaign to promote the NHS App in three community languages and English has been launched in east London.

The campaign – which went live across popular social media channels, community WhatsApp and at community events during August – aims to improve people’s access to health information and support in communities where English is not the first language.

The initiative covers Barking and Dagenham, the City of London, Hackney, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest and is being run by NHS North East London Clinical Commissioning Group (NEL CCG) with the support of NHSX and NHS Digital.

Dr Abdul Kamali, a GP in Tower Hamlets, said: NHSX and our public engagement team in Tower Hamlets are keen to work with people who do not read or speak English to find out what improvements to the NHS App they would find helpful in the long-term, as a way of reducing the language barrier.

“We also want to test out the effectiveness of promoting services in the spoken word (community languages) in north east London. “We’re hoping that this will improve everyone’s understanding of what services are on offer and give local communities a voice.”

The languages chosen by the campaign – Somali, Romanian and Bengali – were selected due to their prevalence in north east London and in recognition of the need to improve these communities’ access to health information and support. In some areas of Tower Hamlets, for example, as many as one in 10 local residents do not speak or read English.

At the centre of the campaign are short explainer videos demonstrating the NHS App’s key benefits using lively animation; and two further video tutorials offering step-by-step guides to registering with the app using NHS login – with or without photo ID or an NHS number. The videos were co-designed with the communities themselves.

While the app features highlighted in the videos are of particular interest and benefit to older users – advice; convenience of appointment bookings; access to personal health records and easy prescription reordering – the campaign is aimed at younger family members who might then support older relatives to download, set up an NHS login and use the NHS App.

Although the NHS App now also holds your COVID-19 vaccination status – the NHS COVID Pass – the campaign is focused on the general personal health benefits of using the app. Pre-campaign community research highlighted recurring themes that the campaign is keen to address, such as data safety and security; how to register with a GP; the need for young advocates to help their older relatives; communities wanting to provide feedback about what else the NHS App should offer; and the need for advice regarding sharing your NHS login details. 

A detailed post-campaign evaluation and report will share findings and feedback with NHSX and NHS Digital which are focused on providing good technology for all.

Nurun Baksh, a community outreach leader in east London, said: “The work we are doing now means that we are able to connect people with the NHS. That is the most important thing because there was a gap.”

Stephanie Kronson, of the Digital Inclusion team at, NHSX, said:  “Listening to those from seldom-heard communities not only ensures that our content reflects and responds to their needs but also helps to build important bridges – so we can no longer speak of the hard-to-reach.”

David Hodnett, Head of Operations for the NHS App, said: We are also interested in addressing any user concerns around safety and data security. Extensive assurance work has been undertaken by the team at NHS Digital to ensure the safety and security of the NHS App and we hope by communicating in familiar languages, we will begin to build trust with these communities and avoid confusion with other apps.” 

Lynn Smith, Head of Implementation at NHSX, said:  “The NHS App is designed to be a digital front door to empower everyone to better manage their personal health and wellbeing. We are excited by the prospect of bringing the benefits of the NHS App to more communities through this new campaign.”