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Announced by one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives, the Co-op is launching an innovative new digital healthcare offering, as it looks to drive the growth of the online prescriptions market and digitise GP appointments.

Aimed at serving the needs of its 4.6 million members, the new Co-op Health app is the first in a series of digital developments from the Co-op’s new Health business.

Co-op will dispense medications ordered through the app from its new pharmacy distribution centre in Lea Green, North West England.

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Currently, digital pharmacy accounts for less than one percent of England’s £9 billion prescription market, but is expected to grow significantly over the coming years. Every year, one billion prescriptions are dispensed in England, four out of five of which are repeat orders.

Following the acquisition of healthcare technology start-up Dimec last year, the Co-op has created a new, unique app. It links patients directly to their GP surgeries, through its integration with the NHS, enabling patients to order medication in real-time.

People can choose to have their medication dispensed by the Co-op Health’s Pharmacy and delivered directly to their home, work or any other address in the UK. Alternatively, they can choose to have their medication dispensed by and collected from any other pharmacy in England.

Additionally, the Co-op will be extending this choice for customers as it trials a UK first click and collect locker in the coming weeks. People will be able to collect repeat prescriptions safely and conveniently from secure lockers within Co-op’s Food Stores by using a unique code or pin.

Furthermore, later this year people will be able to book and manage their GP appointments via the app, helping to free up thousands of GP practices across England.

Tim Davies, Managing Director of Co-op Health, commented: “The pharmacy sector is at the start of a digital revolution, as consumers increasingly look for more flexibility and convenience in accessing their medication.

“Our offer will give customers a range of ways to get hold of their medication, with the knowledge that the service is being provided by a brand they know and can trust, in a way that best suits them.

“This app is just the start for our Health business. We know 40% of the financial burden on the NHS is due to preventable diseases, and as we grow our Health business we want to put the emphasis on proactive health care and empower people to take control of their own wellbeing.”

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