Online access to new GP health record information

Version 1.5 26 June 2023

This guidance is part of the Online patient facing services section of the Good practice guidelines for GP electronic patient records.

All GP practices in England are contractually required to provide patients with online access to new (prospective) information as it is added to their GP health record unless it would not be provided under GDPR or the patient has informed the practice that they do not, or no longer, wish to have access.

Patients with online accounts should be able to view new entries, including free text, in their health record. This includes details of medications, test results and records of appointments they’ve had with any clinician entering information onto the system. It also includes any correspondence sent into general practice from other providers, such as outpatient clinic letters or discharge summaries.

This requirement relates to new (prospective) record entries and not historic data and applies to the NHS App and all other approved patient facing services apps that provide record access (for example Evergreen, Airmid, SystmOnline and Patient Access).

Offering people access to their health record information helps them to better understand and manage their health and helps to reduce the burden on practice staff by reducing the need for patients having to contact their surgery to get test results and referral notifications.

Further information is available at Access to patient records through the NHS App.

Safeguarding patients

For most patients, online record access is beneficial, but for a minority, having access could cause serious harm or distress. Practices should identify these patients and ensure the right safeguarding processes are in place to support safe access. This includes redacting (hiding) specific information entered into the record or preventing the patient from having access.  

GP staff will need to consider the potential impact of each entry, including documents and test results, as they add them to a patient’s record. It is possible to hide entries either temporarily or permanently if considered appropriate, and patients have a right of choice to view their record or not.

Support for GP practices

A range of resources are available to support primary care and other staff with providing safe and effective online prospective record access:

Other helpful resources