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11th December 2015

Patient Online Access Update

3d Laptop with ring binders. Data storage.What’s New? 

Back in February I blogged about the Improving Patient Online Access Enhanced Service which ended at the end of March 2015 and that GP Practices must implement their GMS/PMS contractual requirements of online booking of appointments, ordering repeat prescriptions and access to summary information held in patients’ records by April 2015. Patient Online is the NHS England programme designed to support GP practices to offer and promote online services to patients, including access to coded information in records, appointment booking and ordering of repeat prescriptions.

Online Services

The majority of GP practices already offer online services including appointment booking, ordering of repeat prescription, and access to summary information in records. GP practices will increasingly expand online services over the next year, and by April 2016 online patient records should include coded information on medication, allergies, illnesses, immunisations and test results.

What Do We Need To Do?

GP practices must already promote and offer patients the facility to book, view, amend, cancel and print appointments online and order repeat prescriptions online. Additionally, practices must consider whether it is necessary, in order to meet the reasonable needs of registered patients, to increase the proportion of appointments which are available for patients to book online and take appropriate action. Policies should be reviewed and staff should understand the changes and what information to assist patients. Practices could appoint a Patient Online champion or super-user within the practice (e.g. a patient participation group member, member of staff or volunteer) to help patients register for online services when they visit the practice. Practices should include patient information leaflets and online registration forms to new patients and invite them to complete the registration for online services at their first visit. Remember the Royal College of General Practitioners guidance contains downloadable resources such as registration, consent forms and patient information leaflets.

The Patient Online Programme

The Patient Online programme has updated their interactive Support and Resources Guide to help GP practices implement their GMS/PMS regulations for 2015-16. These include online booking of appointments, ordering repeat prescriptions and by the 31st of March 2016, access to detailed coded information held in patients’ records. The guide includes updated guidance and practical tools for practices, links to RCGP guides, materials for patients, FAQs, case studies as well as regional and local support arrangements. It also offers clarification of pertinent issues such as proxy access and coercion.


Patient Online Support and Resources Guide:

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

Alison Lowerson

GP Specialist

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