The British Medical Association has launched a web portal to help people understand the changes happening in the NHS.

The portal, launched today, aims to explain the NHS reforms such as the GP contract, funding, out-of-hours services and patient choice.

Dr Laurence Buckman, chair of the BMA’s GP committee, said that patients deserved to know and understand the new developments in the NHS and how it affected them.

“GPs feel that our patients aren’t getting the real story about what is happening in the NHS,” he said.

“In a turbulent world, it is vital that GPs play a key role in giving patients the information they need about how their NHS is changing.”

The website will also hold information on what doctors think of the changes and concerns they have, as well as inviting patients to share their views.

In the first phase of a longer term programme established by the BMA to engage the public in the future of the NHS, GPs will also be given posters to display in their practices, directing patients to the web portal.

Buckman said that trying to absorb the impact of the Health and Social Care Act and the pressure from rising patient demand and tight finances, meant it was a challenging period for the NHS.

“General practice in particular is facing a testing time as it comes to terms with the introduction of clinical commissioning groups, imposed changes to the GP contract and continued pressure on out-of-hours services,” he said.

“We will be building on this initiative over the coming months, as we respond to the impact of the changes and pressures and as we seek to develop a positive way forward for general practice for our patients.”

The BMA has also launched an MP to GP visit-scheme, which invites MPs to visit practices in their constituency to see what’s happening on the ground and to talk directly to practice staff about their priorities and concerns.

“We hope that the visits provide an opportunity to discuss, not just the current challenges for local health services, but how doctors and politicians can work together to improve health and health care,” says a sent to MPs.

The BMA previously ran a GP visit scheme in 2010, when 150 MPs took part.