GP online services were first introduced into the NHS in England in 2015. Since then an increasing number of patients and practices have benefitted from them. Due to the impact of COVID-19 the NHS has had to move quickly to implement a wider range of online services to ensure that care can be delivered safely for patients, doctors, nurses and the practice team.

Health at Home

Health at Home is a national patient-facing initiative aimed at encouraging anyone needing the NHS to try online services first. As well as setting out when someone should attend a service in person, it covers:

  • ordering repeat prescriptions
  • contacting a GP
  • urgent dental treatment
  • managing long-term conditions
  • maintaining mental and physical wellbeing

Getting patients registered for online services

NHS England has produced information you can share with patients about getting registered for online services.

When a patient registers for online services for the first time, you will need to confirm their identity to ensure access is given to the right record and the right person.

The preferred route for patients to access GP online service is to sign-up via an app which uses the NHS Login. Click here for a list of current options which work with your clinical system.

The practice can also use remote vouching instead, if necessary.

Helping patients use online services

Online consultations

Many patients will not have used video calls before and may have concerns about both how to use the technology and/or confidentiality issues. NHS.UK has published guidance for patients on GP online and video consultations and a short video hosted on YouTube about contacting your GP remotely. A YouTube video for patients has also been published by eGPlearning.

Supporting patients with additional needs

Patients with learning disabilities may need additional support to get registered and use online services.

Promoting the benefits

Sharing this information on your website and in other communications with patients could encourage take-up of online services, the Lighthouse Medical Practice in Eastbourne shares their experiences.

NHS England has a series of short videos about the benefits of online services to patients and practices which could be shared:

External Resources

Date Published Article Format Author(s)
October 2019 NHS.UK Online health and prescriptions services Patient guidance and video NHS.UK
July 2019 NHS.UK NHS Login Patient guidance and video NHS.UK
April 2020 NHS.UK GP online and video consultations Patient guidance NHS.UK
April 2020 NHS.UK Contacting your GP remotely YouTube video for patients NHS.UK
March 2020 eGPLearning Have a video consultation with your GP YouTube video for patients Dr Osman Bhatti
September 2017 NHS England Supporting patients with learning disabilities Easy read booklet Change (disability charity)
March 2016 NHS England Promoting online services YouTube video Change (disability charity)
April 2016 NHS England & NHS Improvement Benefits of online test results YouTube video Patient Online
November 2015 NHS England & NHS Improvement Benefits of online services YouTube video Patient Online
May 2016 NHS England & NHS Improvement Helping Hugh who is registered blind YouTube video Patient Online
February 2016 NHS England & NHS Improvement Helping carers YouTube video Patient Online
January 2016 NHS England & NHS Improvement Marilyn’s story YouTube video Patient Online
January 2016 NHS England & NHS Improvement Dominic’s story YouTube video Patient Online
August 2017 NHS England & NHS Improvement Patients with long-term conditions YouTube video Patient Online
May 2020 NHS England and NHS Improvement Patient communication is key to COVID-19 response Case study (Peterborough practice) Thistlemoor Medical Centre
June 2020 Public Health England Health at Home toolkit Zip file Public Health England