Sharp rise in patients registering for online GP access

The number of patients registering for online access to GP services has soared in the last year, according to one of the UK's leading suppliers of GP IT systems.

Dr Anant Sharma: online access a huge advantage
Dr Anant Sharma: online access a huge advantage

More than 385,000 patients now use online access software run by IT supplier EMIS, after a 40% rise in registrations since 2012.

Rising interest in online access to general practice services comes after health secretary Jeremy Hunt gave practices a 2015 deadline to roll out online access to appointment booking, repeat prescriptions and patient records.

Mr Hunt has pledged to create a paperless NHS by 2018.

Interest in accessing GP services via mobile phones has also risen, according to EMIS, which reported that a Patient Access app had received more than 25,000 downloads since March.

Wolverhampton’s Bilston Health Centre is among practices that have adopted the online access software.

Partner Dr Anant Sharma said: ‘I love it, and I really hope it becomes more widely used in my practice and beyond, as I believe universal adoption could help GPs to provide a more efficient, better service to their patients.

‘Patients can choose which GP they want to see and when. We make 100% of our appointments available each day for online booking. It saves on trips to the surgery to request and pick up repeat prescriptions.

‘And patients can securely message the practice with non-urgent queries and requests, avoiding phone calls or a GP appointment. Age is no barrier. Our oldest Patient Access user is 91.’

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