A new centralised service to confirm GP registration status with patients aims to reduce the admin burden on practices and is set to be rolled out by the end of the year.
Under a pilot launched in July, patients transferring GP practice will receive confirmation that their registration has been successful via the new ‘Notify a patient service’ launched by NHS England. This means patients will be sent communication directly via the NHS App, email, SMS, or post, removing the need for practices to get in touch themselves.
The new process will apply whether patients choose to register online using the Register with a GP surgery service, use a third-party service, or use a paper registration form.
NHS England has said the service aims to reduce GP admin burden by keeping patients up to date on the progress of their registration, therefore reducing the number of calls or visits made by patients enquiring about whether they have been accepted.
It also added that ‘moving to digital communication for patient registration is fast, saves money, and helps reduce its environmental impact’.
Under the scheme, when a GP practice accepts a new registration, a notification will be sent to the patient to let them know their registration has been successful via the NHS App in the first instance. Patients who do not have the app will be contacted by email or text message.
Patients not able to, or who don’t wish to receive digital notifications, will continue to receive information by post, NHS England explained.
And all notifications will include an option to contact the central team if the patient believes a message they receive is incorrect.
Some patient groups will not be included in the service, including those registering with a GP for the very first time. They will continue to receive a paper letter from Primary Care Support England. However, NHS England hopes to include first-time registrations in a future phase of the service.
Armed services registrations, restricted or S-flagged patients, and bulk practice transfers are also not included in the roll-out.
Ahead of the launch, surgeries are now being asked to review how they currently manage registration confirmations sent to patients so they can make necessary changes to avoid duplication.
During the pilot phase, the centralised service will be opt-in only. Once it goes fully live, practices will need to opt out of the service if they do not wish to use it.
Practices wanting more information or keen to be involved in testing the service can email [email protected]
NHS England said it is hoped that the service will expand in the future to notify patients when any changes are made to their personal details, such as address or contact details.