• Online GP records will give patients more control of their healthcare

GPs in England are set to put patient records online in order to give them access to their healthcare information via devices such as smartphones.

Nearly all (95%) English GP practices are now ready to offer online access to test results, diagnoses, referrals, immunisations, procedures and medications history – compared to just 3% in January, according to official figures.
In March this year, 1.4 million GP appointments were booked or cancelled online, a 100% increase from April last year.

Dr Arvind Madan, GP and NHS England’s director of primary care, said: “We understand our patients lead busy lives and finding time to schedule doctors’ appointments, pick up prescriptions or call up for test results can be a challenge.  We want to ensure faster, easier access for patients, as well as support hard pressed practices in becoming more efficient.”

GP practices have seen a 35% decrease in ‘no-show’ rates for appointments booked online compared to those booked conventionally.

Staff workload has also become more manageable in those practices which have implemented online records. John Snowden, deputy practice manager at Street Lane GP practice in Leeds, said: “We were getting lots of requests from patients who wanted to view their records.  These consultations last up to 30 minutes per patient and easily took up a few hours per week.  

“By opening up health records online, patients no longer need to come to the practice but can view their records from home. It saves them time and money, and it frees up time at the practice for other patients.”