Millions more people given access to their GP records online

More than four in five GP practices (81.1%) in England are now giving patients access to their new health records online, thanks to the NHS delivery plan for recovering access to primary care.

Instead of needing to contact their GP practice, 23.5 million people can now view test results and check their consultation notes on their smartphone or online through the NHS App.

The delivery plan for recovering access to primary care, announced by the NHS and Government in May, sets an ambition of 9 in 10 GP practices offering patients access to their records through the NHS App by March 2024.

The ambitious blueprint, which aims to make it quicker and easier for millions of people to access healthcare, also aims to free up to 10 million GP appointments a year by next winter while giving the public more choice in how they access care.

Access to all future records is a legal right for people and general practice is now required to give all patients aged 16 and over access to their new health record entries unless patients say they do not, or no longer wish, to have online access to their records, or if exemptions apply.

The app is already becoming a front door to health needs for millions of patients – one in four repeat prescriptions [2.7 million a month] are now made via the NHS App instead of people having to contact their GP.

Online patient records are just one aspect of a package of measures to boost access for patients – the NHS is ensuring that all GP practices can upgrade their telephone systems to avoid the “8am rush” for an appointment with 8 in 10 practices already upgrading, up from 5 in 10 last year.

Vin Diwakar, National Director for Transformation at NHS England said: “I want to thank colleagues across the country who have been working hard to make this possible.

“In October alone, more than nine million people viewed their health records through the NHS App which means they can manage their own heath better while GP practices are seeing a reduction in telephone calls for things like test results.

“Boosting patient records access will undoubtedly bring improvements for both patients and staff.

“More than 4,500 practices across the country have given patients access to their future records and we strongly encourage the remaining practices to implement the change with support available to help the practices that are having challenges delivering this service to patients”.

Military veteran Stephen Heard, 69, from the East of England, has experienced some health concerns in the last few years, including prostate cancer and an increased risk of a hereditary heart condition.

He uses the NHS App to look at test results and order repeat prescriptions, he can also access a summary of his treatment, medication, and his care plan.

This saves him a lot of time and avoidable interactions with his GP surgery.

He said: “If you’ve got this information, this can be quite powerful. You can use it to your advantage, and it makes you more aware.

“I think it would probably make the GP more conscious that you were looking at these sorts of things and adjusting lifestyle accordingly”.

This improved access only applies to new health information that is screened at the point of entry to ensure it is suitable and understandable for patients to view.

Some patients may already have access to their historic information, and those who do not can still request access to their historic records.

NHS England has worked with individuals and organisations of at-risk groups over the last 18 months, including victims and survivors of domestic abuse, to provide guidance to GPs on how to put safeguards in place to protect patients.

Over the last two years, NHS England has engaged with professional bodies, patient groups, charities and safeguarding leads, to support general practice, and health professionals in preparing for this change safely and effectively.

This includes guidance on how and when to either restrict or redact information for individuals who might be vulnerable or be at risk of serious harm by accessing their records.

Access to records has been successfully tested with GP surgeries and rolled out across the country to automatically give all patients access to new health record entries online. Having access to health information helps many patients have better conversations about their health with their doctor.

Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association said: “Patients want straightforward access to their medical records. Increasing the numbers who can see their health information via the NHS App is good news for patients. We hear from patients how helpful knowing test results or upcoming appointments is to them in taking care of themselves. And as more patients are able to use digital access to the records, it will reduce calls to general practice requesting information patients can now access themselves”.

Dr Shammy Noor, Darwin Medical Practice said: “I now often put notes from a consultation into the patient’s record together with any instructions, so that when they open the app at home all the information is there rather than them having to write it down on paper which they could lose. We say to patients go and have your blood tests. Have a look at the app and there will be a note from the doctor on there with what you need to do. This enables the patient to be part of their health journey”.

Access to your GP record can be made through the free NHS App or online account. If you haven’t downloaded the NHS App to your smartphone or tablet, you can find out how to do so securely online at

If you have the NHS App and you cannot see new information on your health record online, speak to the GP surgery reception staff and ask for access.

Patients can find out more on the NHS.UK website.