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GP practices should target students for online services, says NHS England

GP practices should promote online GP services to university students, according to guidance issued by NHS England.
The document, published this month, outlines what GP practices can do to advertise digital-first services to students.

It said digital services were particularly relevant to students, who would have higher expectations on what to expect online.

This could include checking test results without having to phone the practice or wait for a call back, order repeat prescriptions 24/7, or avoid the embarrassment of having to talk to a receptionist about private health issues by booking appointments via the practice website.

According to NHS England, all practice staff should be promoting online GP services, for example through their website or by contacting their local universities.

NHS England said practices should:

• ‘Contact your local university and see whether you can promote your services (including GP online services) at their Freshers’ fair’

• ‘Ask the student services and pastoral care teams at the university to display GP online services posters in their student spaces’

• ‘Display posters promoting GP online services around your practice during and after Freshers’ week’

• ‘Use Facebook messages and Tweets to promote the benefits of GP online services to students (remembering to tag the local university in the post – hoping for a retweet or a share)’

The document said: ‘Freshers’ week is a really good week for practices based near universities and colleges to recruit more people to register for GP online services. Students who are new to the area and looking for a GP, are often tech savvy and used to getting many services online.’

Practices are also urged to promote the free ‘Student Health App’, which is available in the NHS Apps Library and provides students with information on how to take better care of their health while studying. 

A version of this article first featured in Pulse’s sister title Management in Practice