Patients are now able to register with a GP practice remotely, using a new ‘Register with a GP surgery’ online service.
The service was initially trialled with 50 practices, but an additional 600 practices have been able to opt in this summer and autumn.
It aims to reduce the administrative burden on general practice and make online registration ‘even more accessible’ to the public, according to NHS Digital.
The service is currently still offering a paper form for patients who choose to register this way, however the form has been ‘improved’ to consider frequently made errors and typos.
By December, functions will also be rolled out to do the following:
- Practices will be able to self-enrol using a dedicated portal
- Dispensing doctors questions will be included in the digital form
- Catchment area checks will be introduced with patients informed as they use the service
- Service will be made accessible from Find a GP
By 2023, the service is expected to allow GP registration via the NHS App.
While the service currently sends completed online forms to an email address for the practice staff to review and manually add into the system, in the future, the registration service will also remove the manual processing part while still allowing for staff to review and approve registration forms.
Dr Ursula Montgomery, interim director of primary care, at NHS England, said: ‘Being registered with a GP allows patients through the front door of the NHS to get the care they need.
‘The “Register with a GP Surgery” service has redesigned the whole process with the user at its centre, so it is inclusive and tackles known, long-standing issues that can contribute to health inequalities. This will make a tangible difference to patients and general practice.’
Dr Jahan Mahmoodi, GP principal at Hazeldene Medical Centre, Middlesex, who has taken part in the service, said: ‘Using the new online service has also nearly halved the time it was taking for our staff to register our patients (47%).
‘Our registration team have referred specifically to the PDS matching of the new registrations we receive. As we can match patients with their record, including their NHS number, via the Spine, they can access all of our NHS services immediately.’