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21% of patients in England can now access their medical record online

A continuing issue we see is people not being able even to get hold of their recent test results without a fuss. (Supposedly we will all have on-line access in April 2015.) This NHS news item of of very long ago says in its headline that 21% of patients can already access their records. The story itself only claims "21% of patients are registered with general practices that offer the ability to view their medical records online." That rather suggests the headline writer is over-egging things.

Anyway - I find it very difficult to believe that more than a tiny percentage actually have access. Otherwise more people would say so!

21% of patients in England can now access their medical record online

8 December 2014 - 17:20

As of September 2014, 21% of patients in England have been able to access their medical records online, a significant increase on 2% this time last year.

The number of patients able to book their appointments and request repeat prescriptions has also jumped to 91% and 88% respectively.

NHS England’s Patient Online programme team has been working closely with practices across England to ensure they have the support they need to confidently offer these online services.

As well as a national network of implementation and clinical support services, practices continue to use the recently published the Patient Online Support and Resources Guide. This guide includes guidance and practice tools developed by the Royal College of GPs, as well as materials for patients, frequently asked questions, regional and local support arrangements and much more.

Focus will now turn to those practices who aren’t offering online services, finding out what the barriers are and what we can do to help them overcome them. Please contact us with any questions or feedback.

Progress in numbers at end of September 2014:

99% of general practices have the capability to allow patients to book or cancel appointments online.

91% of patients are registered with general practices that offer the ability to book or cancel appointments online. This is up from 64% at the same point in the previous year.

98% of general practices have the capability to allow patients to view or order repeat prescriptions online.

88% of patients are registered with general practices that offer the ability to view or order repeat prescriptions online. This is up from 64% at the same point in the previous year.

84% of general practices have the capability to allow patients to view their medical record online.

21% of patients are registered with general practices that offer the ability to view their medical records online. This is up from 2% at the same point in the previous year.


I'll not hold my breath until April - whichever year...


20 Replies

Rod, my practice has facilitated online repeat prescriptions for a long time but if they have the capability to offer online appointments, test results and medical records they're keeping it to themselves. No mention of any such facility on their website. I'm not holding my breath either.


Your reply prompted me to look at my surgery's website again:



New contractual requirements came into force from 1st April 2014 requiring that GP practices should make available a statement of intent in relation to the following IT developments:-

1. Referral Management– Use of NHS numbers on all clinical communications

2. On line appointment booking– Ability for patients to book appointments online

3. On line booking of repeat prescriptions– Ability for patients to request repeat medications online

4. Summary Care Record- Summary Care Records provide healthcare staff with faster, easier access to reliable information about you to help with your treatment .

Please visit systems.hscic.gov.uk/scr for more information.

5. GP2GP transfers - GP2GP enables the Electronic Health Record (EHR) of a patient to be transferred securely and directly to a new practice when the patient registers at that practice. The EHR should be available at the new practice within 24 hours of the patient registering - but will normally be a lot quicker than this.

Please visit systems.hscic.gov.uk/gp2gpfor more information

6. Patient Access to records -Patients can have access to their medical record online, the government have mandated that practices must offer patients access to their medication, allergies and adverse reactions.

Please visit england.nhs.uk/ourwork/pe/p... more information

[name of surgery] Medical Centre is working closely with our System Support Area Team and it is our intention to have all these developments available to our patients by 31st March 2015.


Rod, News page on my practice website was last updated August 5 :o


Which year?


Can't wait to see what cow's droppings they have in my records!!

Although I can do appointments & repeat scripts online already.


Theoretically we can book appointments online, but in reality they release a very few appointments with the least popular doctors. If I want an urgent appointment, or with my chosen GP I still have to phone at 8.00am!

Repeat scrips are fine. But if you ask for it 'too early' then its rejected, even if you are going on holiday or have some other good reason. No longer a problem - I have stopped taking all the prescribed poison!


Repeat prescriptions are very useful to me as they make it easy for me to buy my preferred make of levothyroxine from abroad.

Never had one rejected, only reduced from the three months requested to two months.



I am very interested in your reply about procuring levo from abroad. Presumably it is a purer product but could you give details and costs. My GP practise is in the country and so provides a pharmacy service as well and the last time I broached them on a change of brand I was told the NHS has to buy the cheapest available at any one time - not very helpful.



I don't believe that they are purer. Indeed, they are larger than UK tablets, with 25, 50 and 100 all being exactly the same size. So I'd assess the actual purity (as ratio of levothyroxine to other ingredients) to be lower. I simply find that I feel more stable on them.

With Actavis I felt under-dosed, with Mercury Pharma I felt over-dosed shortly after taking them, but under-dosed by the time I took my next dose. I have no explanation: though I could speculate like anyone else it would not be a real answer as to why.

You could ask for aper prescriptions and get them dispensed elsewhere. Many pharmacies are very helpful in obtaining whichever you ask for and will keep that on record. There are many internet pharmacies in the UK.




The on line system came in in September at my practice, I can make blood and GP appointments see test results, see my prescriptions and order but only 14 days before due,allow someone else to accesss. The difficulty is realising the infrequency of availability of particular GP's and tieing in with the blood take which is only on a Wednesday. I can book appointments for one month ahead.


I can book appointments online - on one occasion the doctor I wanted to see was so busy that when I asked if they had an appointment sooner the receptionist recommended I go online and grab the one I saw while it was still there. I think they release appoikntments in a funny way - some online, some the doctor can make for you during the consultation, some the receptionist can give in advance and the ones you get if you can get through in the morning.

Can also order repeat prescriptions but I let the pharmacy next door do all that and text me when it's time to collect it, they can also get me a double prescription if I'm going away.

I'd love to be able to see all my test results.

Our local hospital has just spent millions of pounds on an eHospital system - think it is so that everyone who needs to ( doubt that means the patient though!) can access all of a patient's records Not sure how smoothly it is going, I passed A&E the other day and there was a huge queue right out onto the footpath, it was like a crowd going to a football match, I thought it was a bit strange then remembered the eHospital business so I think that was what was slowing everything down. could only hope things were better once they all got in although according to the local paper this morning it's all a bit grim.


I don't have access on line for my doctors surgery but do for my hospital. I see my blood results within 24 hours (usually within 6 hours), all the letters that are sent to my GP and appointment letters. Any future appointment that are booked in the future such as Rheumy appointment in March. My medication is on there too. For me it's really useful.


You seem to be describing how things could and should work.


My practice doesn't even provide email contact. If I want a copy of a letter, or test results, they charge £10! But then it is the worst practice I've attended since childhood.


You might already be fully aware:



It is forbidden for a surgery to charge £10 as a flat charge - the amount must represent the cost of providing the information and must not represent a revenue stream. So pressing a button to print one sheet of A4 cannot justify a charge of £10.

Mine has no effective email contact - at least not with any of the medically qualified staff. They might communicate with some patients by email but it is not mentioned anywhere and I have never been offered that.



Thanks, Rod.

I did challenge the practice manager about this, but I got a reply claiming that because the surgery is basically a private business they have to cover associated admin costs. The NHS does not reimburse the practice when patients exercise their rights this way. I pointed out that the previous manager had only ever charged me when I needed a lot of info from my file, and I was happy to cover basic printing charges in that instance. There was no explanation for the change in policy.

I suppose the manager would claim that the £10 is not a flat rate as such, since it represents their LOWEST charge for printing out a patient's record! It seemed grasping at the time, and still seems so.


The ICO would disagree.

If you have the right to see your results on-screen for no charge, then the incremental cost of a page being printed is all they can reasonably claim. They cannot have a minimum that is more than the cost!

I'd argue that you would have every right to photograph the screen on your mobile phone! But there could be some arguments about what was in shot and hence privacy of others.


Thanks for that insight. Is there anything I can quote to back up my case? I looked on the links you gave me, but I couldn't spot anything about the incremental cost of a printed page. My apologies if it's obvious and I've just skimmed over that bit. I agree there could be valid privacy issues about photographing the surgery's computer screen.

I'm going to ask for a copy of a letter on my file in the new year. If the surgery tries again to claim £10, I'm going to challenge them with the information you've given me. There is precious little concept of public service at this particular practice, unlike the last one I attended. In my very rural location it's the only choice available and there is no incentive for the medical staff there to raise their game, except in response to NHS fees for meeting specific targets.


It doesn't say precisely that.

Indeed I can't find where on the ICO site they say anything about not using subject access requests as a revenue stream. £10 for pushing a button is a pure rip-off.


I seem to have EMIS patient access now

- ordered a repeat prescription (my very first) and an appointment with my chosen GP (polishes fingers for some reason) unfortunately it's at 4.40 so hope she won't do a blood test so late on, and everyone knows they're knackered after patient 17... sigh...


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