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 practice can also use remote vouching instead, if necessary.
Helping patients use online services
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: