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Patients using GP online services exempt from NHS App ID checks

by Awil Mohamoud
7 July 2021

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Patients registering for the NHS App who previously underwent an identity check to access GP online services can avoid having to reverify their ID, under new changes.

This comes as Pulse recently reported that patients were calling practices for support in signing up to the NHS App – adding to workload, with some asking their GP to give them access directly, because they were ‘put off’ by the app’s ID verification requirement.

NHS Digital said it is now ‘easier’ for the public to access the NHS App for viewing health records or personal information, including Covid vaccine status, as patients can avoid having their ID checked for a second time, and only need to use the mobile phone number saved in their GP record for registration.

Patients who have not been registered for GP online services will still have to prove who they are to use the NHS App by taking a photo of their ID, recording their face using their device and entering their NHS number if they know it.  

According to NHS Digital, those registered for online services can instead sign up for the NHS App using details they should already have:

  • Linkage Key (could be called Passphrase)
  • O.D.S. Code (could be called Organisation Code or Practice ID)
  • Account ID

NHS Digital said: ‘We’ve made it even easier for the public to access digital services via NHS login, such as the NHS App. If a patient has already had an identity check to access GP online services, they can now set up an NHS login without having their ID rechecked.’

On its website, NHS Digital states that ‘most patients’ will verify their own identity in the app through NHS login, using their own identity documents or GP online registration details they already have. 

But it highlights that ‘some patients’ won’t be able to do this or may choose not to, meaning GPs will need to verify their identity and give them their GP online registration details, or reset and reissue their details if they’re already registered. 

GP leaders had previously warned that any Covid vaccination passport scheme must add ‘zero workload’ for practices.

Patients can also access their vaccination status via the EMIS Patient Access app and the myGP app but – unlike the official NHS App – GP practices need to have granted each user access to the immunisations/vaccinations section of their medical record.

This story first appeared on our sister title, Pulse.