What GP practices need to do

The vast majority of GP practices offer online services to their patients.

This meets the General Medical Services (GMS), Personal Medical Services (PMS) and Alternative Provider Medical Services (APMS) regulations from 2015/16 and beyond.

These services include:

  • booking and cancelling of appointments
  • ordering of repeat prescriptions
  • viewing of detailed information in their GP record, held in coded form where requested by the patient and where GPSoC approved systems are available.

In addition, this is subject to appropriate safeguards which are summarised in the British Medical Association’s (BMA) guidance and more detail is available in the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) guide.

The BMA, local medical committees (LMCs) and NHS England are keen that GP practices continue to actively promote online services and benefit from the increased efficiencies and improved patient satisfaction these services bring. Online services are offered in addition to the traditional telephone and face-to-face interactions. Patients will be able to choose the route they prefer.

Commitments for 2017/18

For the GMS/PMS regulations 2017/18 and APMS regulations, the BMA and NHS England made a joint commitment to encourage practices to register a minimum of 20 per cent of their patients for at least one online service by 31 March 2018. Practices were also required to support patients to use apps to access GP online services. [Technical support for the apps will be provided by the app supplier.] Finally, practices should continue to provide patients who request it, with online access to clinical correspondence.

These three documents are useful but a little dated now.  They are important but do refer to dates passed.

See also our guides to help staff support people with access needs.