Automatic patient access to records will be rolled out this week for those practices that hadn’t opted to delay the programme, according to an NHS England letter released last Friday.
The letter, addressed to integrated care boards, acute mental health and community trusts and NHS England regional medical directors, said that GP IT systems were being ‘reconfigured’ in a phased rollout of the Citizens’ Access programme.
Meanwhile, for other practices – those that requested their IT supplier to pause the feature allowing automatic access to records because of fears around patient safety – the process has been halted until further notice, it was revealed last week.
An NHS England update also published last week, the body said it would ‘continue to work at pace’ for the practices that had not requested EMIS and TPP to pause.
It said: ‘This will happen in a phased rollout, where suppliers will notify practices in advance of their planned switch on date.’
The NHS England letter from Friday 2 December suggested that this rollout would start from this week.
It said: ‘Starting from next week, GP IT systems at practices across the country are being reconfigured in a phased rollout to allow new health record entries, including appointment details, test results and clinical letters, to be made visible to patients automatically.’
For practices that have paused the scheme, NHS England said it would be continuing to work with the BMA, RCGP and local commissioning teams to establish what ‘further support’ is needed, ‘so practices can move quickly’ to offering patients prospective access to records.
It added: ‘We remain firmly committed to ensuring all practices across England provide this facility, in line with the 2019 GP Contract, so that patients can better manage their own health via easy access to information such as test results and referral letters.’
NHS England also clarified that data will only be visible from the date of access being finally switched on.
In its most recent update, it said: ‘Data will only be visible from the date of switch on, so there will be no additional requirement for practices to review information that may have been entered since the 1 November.’
The date, 1 November, was the original deadline set for the mass roll-out of the Citizens’ Access programme, which gives patients automatic access to their prospective records via the NHS app and other approved apps.