Derby

UTI home-testing app to help women trialled by NHS

Pharmacy generic Image copyright Getty Images

A new smartphone app to help women diagnose a urinary tract infection (UTI) is being trialled by the NHS.

The app will be overseen by 37 pharmacies in a trial across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, aimed at freeing up GP appointments.

It guides users through a urine test and allows the results to be analysed online by a pharmacist.

Suspected UTIs make up 3% - 10.2 million - of GP visits in England, costing the NHS about £316m in GP time.

The infections affect about 15% of women each year, the NHS said.

After speaking to a pharmacist, a woman may be given a home-testing kit, instead of being referred to their GP.

A dipstick is placed in urine, then put on a colour board, which is used as a reference point for the patient's smartphone camera.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption It is claimed the test could free up millions of GP appointments

This image is then checked by a pharmacist for signs of infection and antibiotics prescribed if necessary.

Sid Dajani, a pharmacist and adviser to app developer Healthy.io, said: "If only one in 10 women with a UTI was treated in a pharmacy instead of their GP, the NHS would save £28m a year in England alone.

"And there would be millions more appointments available for more serious or urgent problems."

Dr Ken Deacon, medical director for NHS England in the Midlands, said: "This innovative pharmacy scheme offers rapid relief for women while freeing up GP appointments.

"Under the scheme, women who don't test positive for a UTI will have a follow-up consultation.

"This allows the pharmacist to explore further the possible causes of their symptoms and discuss treatment or a GP referral."

The trial will run to the end of the year.

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