More than one million patients have used the national online ‘Register with a GP surgery’ service to register with a GP since its launch 18 months ago.

The service, managed by NHS England, allows patients to go online at any time of the day and register with a local GP without having to visit the practice in person. One in three GP practices are now offering the service, which was designed to make the process simpler and more convenient.

In December, it was confirmed that the Register with a GP surgery service had been rolled out to 2,000 GP practices, a target that had been achieved ahead of schedule.

All GP surgeries in England have been asked in the recently published GP contract  to offer the Register with a GP surgery service, which consists of an online registration service and an alternative paper form, from October 2024 in the recently published GP contract.

Dr Amanda Doyle, national director of primary care and community services for NHS England, said reaching a milestone of one million registration forms submitted online in the last 18 months “shows the value of the service for both patients and GP surgeries”.

She added: “The service not only reduces the administrative burden for general practice, but also makes GP registration much more accessible to the public – offering patients more choice, convenience and consistency.

“We continue to see a steady increase in the number of GP practices coming on board, which is helping them to save both time and money. By recently integrating the service with the NHS App, we hope even more GP practices will take advantage of this new digital tool.”

Patients can access the service using individual GP surgery websites, the NHS website’s Find a GP service and the NHS App. They are also encouraged to verify who they are using their NHS login where possible, but this is not essential.

Patients do not need ID, an NHS number or proof of address to register with a GP. People registering online can also use translation tools alongside the service, making it more accessible for those whose first language is not English.

Nicola Davies, practice manager at the Roseland Surgeries in Cornwall and director of the Institute of General Practice Management, said: “The Register with a GP surgery service is straightforward for practices to use, with no formal training required.

“It fits in around our existing processes to welcome a new patient to our practice, for example arranging medication reviews for new patients with repeat prescriptions.

“In my practice we have received really good feedback from patients as they no longer feel the need to contact our team during opening hours regarding registration – it’s given them an option that wasn’t previously available and saved the need for a trip to the surgery which is often unnecessary.”