More than 300 GP practices have switched on access to the Individual Health Record in Wales, making about 2m summary patient records available to emergency care providers.

Approximately 3m people live in Wales. But the IHR is now available in every health board area, following the go-live of the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board at the start of the year.

The IHR is the Welsh version of the Summary Care Record in England. It allows secure access to a summary GP record for doctors and nurses working in an out-of-hours services or medical assessment units.

The record is only available to other clinicians working within the local health board of the patient’s GP and with the patient’s consent.

The record includes basic demographic information, medications and allergies.

Clinicians can also see any medical problems that the patient has seen their GP about over the previous two years and the results of any tests or x-rays from the previous year.

The £4.7m service was funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and developed by the NHS Wales Informatics Service in partnership with clinical systems suppliers.

The Assembly has also backed the My Health Online service to the tune of £1.7m.

My Health Online is designed to allow patients to book and cancel appointments and request prescriptions online. Online access to the GP record is also being considered as part of the project.

Nearly 70 GP practices are offering the service across Wales, with 4,000 people signed up and another 90 practices are due to go live by spring this year.

An NHS Wales Informatics Service spokesperson said the most advanced functionality was the patient appointment booking service, which meant many patients could go to a website and book online.

GPs using the system have said it has reduced their ‘did not attends’ as patients are more inclined to cancel when using the online service. It has also freed up GP practice phone lines, making it easier for patients to get through to the practice.

NHS Wales Informatics Service said the booking of appointments, repeat prescriptions and change of address functionality would be available for INPS and EMIS systems by the summer, and iSoft by the end of 2012.