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Patient Online programme offers new guidance on online GP services

2 December 2015

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The Patient Online programme from NHS England has updated their guidance for practice managers to create and improve online services. 

Since April, patients in England are predicted to have arranged more than 10 million GP appointments online and ordered more than 15 million prescriptions, according to data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), NHS England’s digital lead revealed today. 

More than 97% of patients are now able to benefit from these services, and practices who have set up these services offer their advice in the guidance.

It is recommended that practice managers should review the appointments being booked face-to-face or over the telephone which could be booked online, mentioning online services to patients during consultations, or to new patients when they register.

Other recommendations include removing the facility to take prescription requests over the phone (with a few exceptions, eg for vulnerable patients), and clear campaigning on Facebook, Twitter, TV screens in the practice, and on the practice answering machines.

GP practices must, as outlined in the 2015/16 General Medical Services (GMS) contract and Personal Medical Services (PMS) agreement, promote and offer patients the facility to book, view, amend, cancel and print appointments online, and order repeat prescriptions online (this includes viewing and printing).

See the updated guidance here