One in four people now use online GP services

The number of patients using an online account has grown 42% in the last year


One in four patients across England are now using online GP services, figures from NHS England have revealed.

A total of 13.9 million people in England are using the internet to perform tasks such as booking appointments, ordering repeat prescriptions, and viewing their medical records. In the last year the number of patients using online services has risen by 42%, according to NHS England. Some 24% of all patients are now registered for an online account with their doctor.

Across the country, an average of about one million GP consultations are booked or cancelled online each month, while 2.3 million repeat prescriptions are ordered. 

Juliet Bauer, chief digital officer for the NHS, said: “We’ve worked hard to support practice staff to be able to offer these services to their patients. The work to improve GP engagement, patient awareness and the patient experience is resulting in more sign-ups and better use of these vital services. This is just one example of how we are increasing the use of technology in the NHS to empower people to take more control of their health, wellbeing and care.”

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A recent campaign by The Swan Practice in Buckingham saw 1,200 of its patients sign up for an online account. This has resulted in the surgery halving the average number of calls it receives each day from 50 to 25, the practice claimed.

Dr Masood Nazir, national clinical lead for NHS England’s Patient Online programme, said: “There are many demands on GP practices, so encouraging patients to register for online services is not only helping reduce some of the pressure but it is empowering, enabling and motivating more patients to share the responsibility for their own health and wellbeing.”

He added: “We are seeing many examples of this particularly working well for patients with long term conditions who can use their GP record to become more knowledgeable and confident about their condition, treatment and care prior to attending an appointment with their doctor or nurse.”


Sam Trendall

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