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Awareness of online services rises, patient survey reveals

7 January 2016

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The awareness of online GP services has risen, as almost a third of patients (29.3%) are aware that appointments can be booked online, compared to 25.9% in January last year.

Similarly 29.6% know they can order repeat prescriptions online, compared to 27.1% in January 2015, a survey revealed.

The GP Patient Survey received around 38,000 responses from patients and was carried out by Ipsos MORI for NHS England. 

However, there is still work to be done, as over half of all patients (51.1%) are unsure whether these services are available at their specific practice, and one-in-10 believe that none of these options are available.

This comes after digital expert Martha Lane Fox told health minister Jeremy Hunt that online services should be used by 10% of all registered patients by next year.

The online service that is currently most likely to be used is ordering repeat prescriptions. One-in-10 (10.5%) has said they have done this in the past six months, hitting Fox’s target and showing a 0.7% increase since this time last year.

Fewer patients have used online booking recently (7%), though this has increased by 0.9% since last year. “Very few have accessed their medical records online (less than 0.6%)” the report of the poll revealed.

The government announced a new investment of £1 billion in the autumn statement, which they pledged will be used to pay for new health technology, tools and training.