Shonky securo-nightmare NHS apps library finally binned

But new incarnation will be released with more 'rigorous standards', we're told

Crop of doctor with pen and clipboard

The NHS' security-flawed Apps Library has been shelved, following widespread criticism of the site.

Last month Imperial College London revealed serious problems with a number of the 79 apps sitting on the NHS-branded store.

These included software tools that provided diabetic users with inappropriate insulin doses, handed asthmatics shoddy peak flow calculators, and many apps with no security controls.

Just two apps which appeared on the previous app store will be included on the new NHS Mental Health Apps Library, dedicated to mental health issues. An NHS spokeswoman said the decision to take down the widely-criticised apps store was unrelated to the findings of the research.

She said: “We are working to upgrade the Health Apps Library, which was launched as a pilot site in 2013 and reviews and recommends apps against a defined set of criteria."

Phil Booth, director of patient confidentiality group MedConfidential, welcomed the move. He added: “NHS England should take moral responsibility for its past misjudgements and malpractice. It shouldn’t just silently withdraw a few of its worst mistakes, perform a reboot and hope people forget.

“Medical apps, like medicines, can be powerful interventions with real effects in real people’s lives. They must be treated as such.”

The NHS said it will launch a series of new apps stores "to promote clinically validated apps in a range of other areas including diabetes, obesity prevention, maternity and early years, smoking cessation and COPD.”

The NHS Health Apps Library was launched as a pilot in 2013 and is due to end later this month. The NHS said the Health Apps Library reviews and recommends apps on the basis that they are clinically safe, relevant to people living in England and compliant with the Data Protection Act. A spokesman stressed the scheme does not formally "accredit" apps.

The NHS Mental Health Apps Library was launched in March 2015. The NHS said it is compliant with the Improving Access to Psychological (IAPT) quality standards and offers National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) approved treatments for depression and anxiety disorders. ®


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