NHS Digital is supporting patients by improving and simplifying access to patient medical records at GP practices using the NHS App or other online access accounts e.g. SystmOnline or Airmid app. The aim is to improve communication and allow a shared care partnership with patients being more involved in their care which is supported by their research. This will enable patients to see consultations, action plans, hospital letters and discharge communications as well as blood results and other investigations directly without needing to contact the practices directly. Additionally the NHS App provides access to basic online services: booking, viewing or cancelling appointments; ordering repeat prescriptions; viewing your health information depending on accessibility settings; viewing your NHS number. To register for the NHS App you need to be aged 13 years or older – https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-app/.
From 1st April/July 2022 all patients will be able to see their full medical records online once enabled after identity verification. If you already have access nothing will change (or if you have had your identity verified at a previous GP practice), if you have detailed coded records access instead you will have full medical records access automatically. Everyone will be able to see all their record entries prospectively from 1st April/July 2022 with NHS Digital planning to enable viewing entries retrospectively towards the end of 2022. BHWC has already enabled viewing all-time computerised medical record entries.
Everyone aged 13 years and over, who is deemed competent, can apply for online records access or online services which can be requested on practice registration or at any time afterwards. Proxy access can be enabled for people with parental responsibility for their children or other individuals to support patient care or for those patients who cannot consent. When a person reaches 11 years old proxy access is automatically removed and further proxy access is reviewed after reapplication following standard security procedures.
Clearly access to medical records online may cause concerns about viewing sensitive or historical information which may cause upset, flag up information quality and accuracy issues, or data security concerns. Processes are in place to manage these concerns including identity verification and proxy access protocols, ‘right to rectification’ of inaccurate data under data protection legislation, and information governance laws and guidelines for data processors.
Particularly sensitive information will be redacted from online access: safeguarding relevant, third-party documentation, and disclosure of any information which would cause serious harm to the patient.
Making your personal and health information accessible online has benefits but individuals have responsibilities for the security of their own data which is highlighted during the application process.
If you choose not to have online medical records access you can still review your data through a Subject Access Request (SAR) under data protection legislation – see practice privacy notice - https://www.brightonhealthandwellbeingcentre.co.uk/nhs-services/policies#fair-processing-notice.
Any questions, please contact the practice by submitting an administrative query via eConsult – https://brightonhealthandwellbeingcentre.webgp.com/.
BHWC will assist you with any problems with online access and the NHS App. However please note that the NHS App is provided by NHS Digital. Technical or operational issues not resolved by our team will need to be managed by NHS Digital via the application or contacting them direct – https://digital.nhs.uk/about-nhs-digital/contact-us.
More detailed information can be accessed at NHS Digital:
Information leaflets about online access:
Information about the NHS App: