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Online GP record access has reduced admin burden for practices, says NHS England

Online GP record access has reduced admin burden for practices, says NHS England

GP practices have already experienced ‘a reduction in administrative burdens’ after granting patients online access to records, NHS England has claimed.

Practices in England have to offer automatic access to prospective records via the NHS App by 31 October, as per the changes to the GP contract, following several delays

However the BMA’s GP Committee still has patient safety concerns regarding the rollout.

In a new blog, posted by NHS England, national director for primary care Dr Amanda Doyle and national director of transformation Dr Timothy Ferris said early-adopter practices have experienced benefits including a reduction in calls from patients.

It said: ‘Our early adopter GP practices report the number of subject access requests (SAR) has fallen, there is less time spent handling patient enquiries over the phone, and there is a reduction in administrative burdens.

‘This feedback comes from our colleagues in GP practices, representing a cross section of location, deprivation levels and list size.

‘The real benefits come when patients are routinely using record access via the NHS App at times best suited to them, and when colleagues naturally signposting patients to their records to answer their questions – for instance on whether a test result is available.’

NHS England also said that while early adopters, 16 sites across the country, have not been able to provide a precise figure as to the fall in calls under certain categories, one practice has estimated that ‘potentially one third of calls have been prevented’.

The blog also highlighted ongoing concerns regarding records access expressed by GP leaders.

Some practices and representative organisations have expressed concerns around ensuring that vulnerable and at-risk patients don’t see something that could be harmful to them,’ it said.

The BMA had even considered a legal challenge over the imposed contractual requirement to offer patients access to prospective records but it abandoned plans last month due to lack of financial resources and legal merit.

Its concerns include implications for safety of vulnerable patients having full record access and of the projected workload that GPs would take on to implement the programmes.

However, the NHS England blog said: ‘Last year, we carried out an extensive clinical safety review to make sure any risks to patients could be mitigated.

‘We have developed strong safeguarding processes, have published this support online and we have not had reports of any adverse safeguarding issues or increases in workload.’

The latest update from the GPC said it still believes ‘there are patient safety and information governance concerns that remain, and which need to be addressed’.

‘In September, we will publish comprehensive advice and guidance for all practices on this issue and will continue to set out concerns and solutions to government ministers,’ it added.

The GPC also said it wished to ‘reassure practices that they have time to consider matters, and that contractors do not need to make any quick decisions before our guidance has been published’.

There is no central automatic switch-on and that the contract specifically requires practices to configure their systems to allow patients to access online information entered onto their medical record.

And last month NHS England warned that a third of GP practices are not yet ready to provide prospective records access to patients, as they ‘still have the incorrect settings’.

Patients were initially set to be given automatic access to their prospective patient records through the NHS app from 1 November last year – starting with EMIS and TPP, and with other smaller suppliers to follow at a later date.

But in October last year, suppliers confirmed they would not yet switch on automatic patient access to their records via the NHS app due to safeguarding concerns. 

In May, a London ICB expressly advised GP practices not to switch on automatic patient access to prospective records ahead of the 31 October deadline.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Jonathan Mounty 13 September, 2023 5:30 pm

Obviously anything NHS England says is bound to be true. Strange how they decided no statistics were needed. I need to go and swallow another gullability pill.

Michael Mullineux 13 September, 2023 5:40 pm

Frankly completely implausable

David OHagan 13 September, 2023 6:18 pm

..early adopter self justifies by optimistic reporting of results…? that old song?

Not on your Nelly 13 September, 2023 6:49 pm

I smell some ox poo…

Michael Green 13 September, 2023 7:05 pm

Ha ha ha

Richard Greenway 13 September, 2023 7:08 pm

Well its created massive additional administrative workload for us, and we haven’t even signed up yet -if we do it will no doubt cause more.

SUBHASH BHATT 13 September, 2023 7:34 pm

Excellent. It saves pt ringing for results. Pt can see health records. They can see if prescription is issued.
I think it has reduced staff work load for sure.

Anonymous 13 September, 2023 7:40 pm

Young and able minded 35 year old:
Can I have a sick note?
I will send as a text, next time you can use the app.
What app?
NHS app.
Too difficult.
Simple and easy to use.
I don’t have time.
It will save you time and hassle.
I don’t have Internet data.
Just f**king call next time.

David Church 13 September, 2023 8:21 pm

I do not want hackers to be able to read my full GP records, thankyou.

Mark Coley 13 September, 2023 10:19 pm

I’m not entirely sure how granting access to the prospective record might reduce the number of patients submitting Subject Access Requests (SARs) given SARs generally are used to access historic information. Perhaps Pulse could ask NHS England for some evidence?

paul cundy 14 September, 2023 8:22 am

Dear All,
Access via any of the apps, MYGP, NHS app etc is NOT the equivalent of a SAR. Even the dullards at NHS England should know this.
Paul C

Darren Tymens 14 September, 2023 11:44 am

The lack of intellectual rigour is disappointing but unsurprising.
NHSE: Please provide actual evidence, not just an opinion, which is hardly unbiased. Let’s see a paper we can peer review and critique. This is what grown-ups do.
It is also important to note that early uptake practices and pilot sites tend to produce results not replicatable in the real world, for a variety of reasons.

David Church 14 September, 2023 12:59 pm

This is why GPs do not need any additional winter pressures funding this winter, they are going to be idle as a result of this massive breakthrough in reducing workload through better IT.
Presumably it even makes up for IT connectivity failures – if our connections in the surgery are ‘down’, we can get the patients to show us their medical records on their devices instead.

Nicholas Grundy 16 September, 2023 9:14 pm

Liars, liars, liars.

Centreground Centreground 20 September, 2023 12:13 pm

NHS England has most likely missed all its annual appraisals as likely to fail and has reached the point of disciplinary action for persistently misleading delusional outputs in a face of an NHS it is progressively destroying.
Following the disciplinary hearing it should then be sacked!

Imogen Bloor 21 September, 2023 6:44 pm

I echo others thoughts about what the real evidence is here.
A relative has contacted me recently several times to ask about different blood results that they’ve accessed via the NHS App. These have been filed as ‘normal’ but as we also know some blood test parameters are * as out of range even though we know this doesn’t mean they are necessarily abnormal, and understandably she found this confusing. I ( of course) advised she contact her GP if unclear about anything, but I also was able to explain & reassure, undoubtedly averting several GP consultations. ONE follow up consultation with her GP to discuss all results in the context of her symptoms would have been more efficient & caused her less anxiety.