New service is used by a fifth of English GP surgeries, saving staff time while allowing patients to register when convenient, with almost half using it out of normal surgery hours
The NHS England’s online Register with a GP surgery service has reported that 425,200 patients have used the service since its launch in August 2022, saving staff around 15 minutes for each registration.
The service allows patients to register with participating GPs online or through the NHS app in a process taking around 15 minutes, rather than filling in a paper form at their new surgery. NHS England said that almost half of those using the service have done so outside normal GP surgery opening hours. Around two-thirds have used the service to switch GPs, with others registering for the first time.
Use of the service is free for GP surgeries, and 1,484 have adopted it so far, around 23% of the total. According to performance data, it is most widely available in London, the south-east and south-west of England, with 59% of GPs in the NHS Surrey Heartlands integrated care board area having signed up.
The service checks that the applicant lives within the catchment area and attempts to match them to their existing NHS records, with a success rate of 90%, according to performance data.
“Being able to register online saves people a trip into the practice to collect a paper registration pack, and it also saves time for our staff team as the information goes directly into the GP workflow seamlessly, making the process easier for everyone,” said Dr Matt Curtis, a GP working in Keighley in West Yorkshire.
NHS England has also updated the paper registration form for participating GP surgeries so it uses the same questions as the online service, drawing on feedback from patients and practices.