GP practices ‘may see an increase’ in interest from patients wanting to access their digital health records following the launch of the vaccination status service, NHS England has said.
As of last week (17 May), patients in England who have had both doses of a Covid vaccine are able to access their vaccination status via the NHS App or by requesting a letter from 119, without involvement from GP practices.
In a newsletter delivered to staff (25 May), it said that practices ‘may see an increase in interest from their registered patients for access to digital health records as a consequence’.
NHSE said in its newsletter: ‘To manage workload, we recognise that GP practices may not be able to address all of the errors on behalf of their patients, and contact details for the vaccines support desk and vaccination data quality support team are also provided within the guidance.’
Recently published guidance for practices outlines that patients may make contact because they have found missing or incorrect information in their record when accessing the NHS App.
Meanwhile, patients who contact 119 may be unable to receive evidence of vaccination if information is missing, or there are errors in their contact details or vaccination record.
These patients will be sent one of two letters with an error code advising them to contact their GP practice.
A version of this letter reminds patients to ‘ask your GP practice how long it will take for your details to be updated before requesting another letter’.
IGPM reports increased demand
Nicola Davies, IGPM co-founder and practice manager at the Roseland Surgeries in Cornwall, told Management in Practice: ‘We have definitely had an increase in requests from people for access to their records.’
She said that at her practice’s last Covid vaccination clinic, her staff were ‘reminding people to download the NHS App if they could’.
She added: ‘This has seen an increase in requests, but we are managing that in-house.
‘However, for a number of patients without internet access or a smartphone, their option is to call 119 to request that formal letter. This of course takes time to explain to patients.’
Ms Davies said that updating information on the practice’s website has helped to manage those requests.
She added, however, that she believes some patients have found it confusing that both the NHS Covid19 App and the NHS App are separate services.
The NHSE guidance outlined that for people vaccinated at a site led by a practice’s own primary care network (PCN) and who have identified an error, the necessary amendments must be made using the vaccination point of care system.
It added that changes ‘must not be made directly’ in the GP clinical system.
For patients vaccinated at a hospital hub, vaccination centre, community pharmacy, or a PCN grouping outside the person’s own practice, practice staff should contact the vaccines support desk.