COVID recall request propels NHS.uk website and apps to top of ranking


As millions seek their recall before Christmas and the expected Omicron surge, the NHS website and its associated app have taken the brunt of thousands trying to log in and make appointments every minute of every day.

Data collected by app market intelligence firms AppAnnie and Sensortower show that the NHS app has remained at the top of Google’s and Apple’s respective app stores since December 11. The NHS app has become the preferred way for many to secure a location. , with over five million downloads to date.

Such was the amount of people trying to book their Covid booster jabs that the NHS web hosting service The supplier gave in and its site crashed or blocked several times according to the government, as more than half a million people booked theirs on Monday alone (and 750,000 more over the weekend).

None of the accidents were related to downtime experienced by AWS on Wednesday (Amazon Web Services is a major partner of the National Health Service and manages the NHSX) but seeing a message stating that you are in a queue of over 13,000 people on the NHS site was not encouraging.

Google Trends reports that search for the term in the UK NHS reached its highest level since mid-2020, on December 12 at around 8 p.m., as the British Prime Minister addressed the nation on reminder shots.

Strong increase in traffic

The digital intelligence platform, Similarweb, ranks the NHS website 29th on its list of UK’s most popular websites for November. However, December is likely to see it propelled into the top 10, possibly ahead of Netflix and Instagram.

Preliminary figures shared with TechRadar Pro show that the number of visits to the NHS website jumped almost a quarter between November 22 and 29, when the Omicron variant made headlines. Growth thereafter was moderate but remains significant at 6% per week for a whopping 20 million visits.

A big change that occurred towards the end of November was the number of pages per visit which rose from 3.39 to 4.22, almost 25%, reflecting the growing appetite of the UK public to find out more about the new variant.

A Similarweb spokesperson added, “Looking at the monthly data, there was a huge spike in November 2021 on a YoY and MoM basis. In November 2021, users were more engaged with the site, staying on the site 11 seconds longer than in October and 3.44 pageviews per visit, up from 2.69 in October. In addition, the total number of page views jumped 42% from October.

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