POLITICS
04/05/2021 13:21 BST

NHS App Still Not Ready As Ministers Prepare To Lift International Travel Ban

Downing Street hints governments may need to use "another approach" to let Brits prove vaccine passport status.

Luciana GuerraPA
Health Secretary Matt Hancock leaving 10 Downing Street

The NHS app may not be ready for when curbs on international travel are lifted, Downing Street has confirmed. 

Number 10 said government was working on the tech - which can prove whether someone has “vaccine passport” status - “at pace”, but admitted it may not be ready in time for May 17. 

Transport secretary Grant Shapps had previously suggested the app would be needed so Brits can show they’ve had their jab, but the prime minister’s spokesperson rowed back on the claim on Monday. 

“He set out the original approach we’re looking to take,” said the spokesperson. “Obviously, we will be able to confirm ahead of May 17 at the earliest exactly what measures are used for those initial countries available for travel, be it the app or another approach.”

Pressed on whether the app would be needed, he added: “There are obviously other routes to achieving the same end goal. We’re working on the app at the moment at pace to have it ready.

“And we’ll be able to confirm ahead of May 17 at the earliest what approaches we’ll be using.”

The app is connected to GP services and linked to personal health data. It can be used for repeat prescriptions, to message doctors and book appointments It is separate from the NHS Covid-19 app, which is used for contact-tracing.