A new contract agreement between NHS England and the British Medical Association’s (BMA) GP committee aims to increase patient access to digital services.
The contract gives practices almost £1bn across five years to help fulfil ambitions laid out in the NHS Long Term Plan.
One of the features in the package is increased digital access for patients.
Part of this includes GP practices ensuring that they can offer online consultations by April 2020 and making at least 25 per cent of appointments available for online booking by July 2019.
Practices are also expected to provide all patients with online access to their full medical record also by April 2020.
Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee chair, said: “The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has made his ambitions around technology in general practice clear, and GPs recognise the potential convenience that new systems can offer to many patients.
“We have therefore agreed a realistic timescale to improve digital access for patients, building on improved infrastructure to firstly be able to book an appointment and access to their own records online, before progressing to video consultations for all in 2021.
“We will also set in train an important programme to digitalise all remaining paper records, so freeing up much needed space in GP practices as well as delivering a comprehensive electronic patient record.
“And while patients will now have access to their own records digitally, we have secured £20m a year to cover the costs of subject access requests, which GPs and their teams have been having to complete unfunded since the introduction of GDPR legislation almost a year ago.”
Chair of the Royal College of GPs, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, welcomed the announcement saying that the new contract will mean “we can finally turn a corner towards making general practice sustainable for the future”.
7 February 2019 @ 19:30
Perhaps now is a good time that all practices should be mandated to implement ETP (Electronic Transfer of Prescriptions). Several do not, specifically to protect the financial value to GP Partners of their in-practice dispensaries. This maintains GP financial self-interests to be of greater importance than patient care, convenience and access.
7 February 2019 @ 17:32
What does “digitalise all remaining paper records” mean in practice?
If old letters are scanned – presumably as PDFs – the *content* of those letters will still be unavailable in real life consultations – especially as there is no agreed system of labelling documents.
GP records depend on *Coding*: will remaining old paper records be Coded? If so, by whom?
Then there is a problem with patient access to digital records: third party entries e.g. child at risk case conferences.
For clarity, I do support the idea of Patient Record Access: but there *is* a legal obligation to not release third party information – and, as far as I am aware, no GP system has the capacity to do this.
2 February 2019 @ 22:17
As a patient this is great news, I need my GP to offer flexible appointments online, fed up of either seeing a free appt in a month’s time or no appts at all, then trying to get through on the phone at 8.30 in the morning while I’m trying to work. GPs need to digitise to accommodate patients hectic lifestyles
4 February 2019 @ 13:22
Totally agree with Fran. In our modern world patients need to be cared in all ways. Otherwise they will leave for another doctor, clinic and so on. All this issues are greatly written here https://www.techyv.com/blog/how-to-kick-start-your-career-as-a-writer/. I advise you to read it.
1 February 2019 @ 00:41
The question for a patients is, ‘How much of this is it not possible to ignore completely?’ The biggest threat is the paragraph,
“We will also set in train an important programme to digitalise all remaining paper records, so freeing up much needed space in GP practices as well as delivering a comprehensive electronic patient record.”
This is not about freeing up space in GP surgeries. It is about “delivering” a comprehensive electronic patient record for harvesting by the NHS and for sale to technology companies. Over my dead body!