Patients who have downloaded the NHS App will start to have online access to new entries in their GP record by the end of this year.
NHS Digital have announced that patients whose practices use TPP will be first to have access to their GP notes through the NHS App from December.
For EMIS practices, patients will be able to view new entries in their health records from early 2022. Discussions are still ongoing about Vision clinical systems.
The scheme will be expanded from 2022 to enable patients to request their historical coded records through the NHS App.
GPs are being advised to consider ‘the impact of each entry’, including documents and test results, as they add them to a patient’s record.
NHS Digital said patients would not see personal information – such as positive test results – until they have been checked and filed, giving GPs the chance to contact and speak to patients first.
The move supports existing GMS contract requirements “to promote and offer online patient access to all future information, unless exceptional circumstances apply”, the announcement said.
From April 2020, GP practices have had to make online access to the full historic digital record available to patients on request.
GPs had warned that digitising past records would cause a lot of extra workload but the BMA has stressed they did not expect practices to fund the work themselves.
A series of events run by NHSX have been announced this week and next with more to follow to help practices plan for the changes.
GPs and practice staff need to be aware that patients will be able to see their future records and understand how to manage the changes including that sensitive information may need to be redacted as it is entered onto the clinical system.
In announcing the move NHS Digital said research shows that increasing numbers of patients want easy access to their health records and personal information, including 80% of the 18 million NHS App users.
‘Better access supports patients as partners in managing their health, and will help reduce queries to practices such as on negative test results and referral letters,’ it added.
Dr Grant Ingrams, a GP in Leicester, said: ‘The regulations say that this will occur only once there is redaction software in place. But lots have raised the significant amount of time it will take to check through every record. More worrying will be the arrangements for when patients can write into their own records.’
Since May, patients have also been able to use the NHS App to prove their Covid vaccination status.