Access to GP online services
Accessing your GP-held records via the NHS app or NHS website
As your GP practice, we have been asked to provide you with full access to your ongoing medical records, no later than 31 October 2023, via the NHS app (and NHS website) if you have a suitable NHS login. This means that your medical record will be released by the practice for you to read the information we hold for you. The information available to you will only be visible from 31st October 2023, so you will not be able to view past medical information.
Currently your data is currently held securely within NHS systems. The information can only be viewed outside the practice if we have given permission for the record to be released. Your GP medical record contains consultation notes based on conversations between you, your GP and their team: medicines prescribed to you; test results; allergies; vaccines and your medical conditions along with documents that may have been sent from local hospitals, clinics or other agencies, eg the police, as well as information you have sent to the practice that has been held on your records. There will be sensitive and personal information within your medical record.
We are supportive of providing you with access to your record, (Currently nearly 50% of our patients already have access to their medical records ) and previously had in place a secure system of checking and vetting patient ID and information before releasing the records. Due to a decision by NHS England this is no longer going to be the case and all medical records are to be automatically released from 31st October 2023.
You can choose to opt out of having your data released on the 31st October ( this does not stop you changing your mind in future and we can opt you back in). You will need to respond no to the text message sent to you by the practice.
You may wish to speak with us first to understand what it is that you will see, and the risks which may be involved in having such confidential data either on your smartphone with the NHS app installed or online especially if other people might have access to that information through your devices. In this scenario we would suggest you reply no so that we hold the automatic release of your record until you have had time to discuss this with us.
If you are in a difficult or pressured relationship for example, you may prefer your records to remain accessible only to those treating you, with them not appearing on your smartphone or online.
For those who would like access, we are happy to explain the different levels you might like. You can have access to just your medication history and allergies only for example, to be able to order your prescriptions. You may want access to the ‘full’ record where you will be able to see everything, including the notes which have been written by doctors, nurses and others involved in your care, at the GP surgery, and elsewhere.
It’s important to remember that these documents may, at times, contain information that could be upsetting, especially if they contain news of a serious condition. It can also be a cause for worry seeing results online when it isn’t clear what the results might mean, and no one is available to ask, as can be the case during the evening or at weekends, for example. NHS England have provided a list of frequently used medical terms to support patient understanding of records Abbreviations you may find in your health records – NHS App help and support – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Sometimes people might prefer not to see documents that remind them of difficult times in their life. Letters from mental health teams sometimes go into detail about past events, and great care would be needed in deciding whether you would want to see these letters. It is possible for individual items to be hidden at your request and your GP would be happy to talk about any concerns you may have.
Requesting access – what do I need to do?
If you are happy to have your records released then you do not need to tell us, it will automatically happen. Unless you download the NHS app or have on line access NO ONE will be able to see them.
If you want to see them you will need to register to prove your ID on the app or on line.
The NHS app is self explanatory but does need a formal ID and for you to do a short video so you you may need some one to help you.
The staff here can help with on line access using the form below but please be patient if there is a waiting list to begin with.
The form to request access can be downloaded here.2.-Online-Access-Patient-Request-Form (1)
Section 2 – Important Information – Please read before submitting this form
This form will take 30 working days from receipt to action. Once we have opened your record for you to access, your login details will be sent via email to the account you have stated on this form.
It will be your responsibility to keep your login details and password safe and secure. If you know or suspect that your record has been accessed by someone that you have not agreed should see it, then you should change your password immediately.
If you can’t do this for some reason, we recommend that you contact the practice so that they can remove online access until you are able to reset your password.
If you print out any information from your record, it is also your responsibility to keep this secure. If you are at all worried about keeping printed copies safe, we recommend that you do not make copies at all.
Please note: If we have any reason to believe that in giving you online access this may cause you physical and/ or mental harm the practice reserve the right to refuse you online access. Patients records will be checked upon receipt of this form in order to verify details and carry out safeguarding checks in line with legislation. If we are unable to offer you online access this will be discussed with you.
Please request a copy of our Online Access Policy for full information in respect of our online services.
Section 3 – Before you apply for online access to your record, there are some other things to consider
Although the chances of any of these things happening are very small, you will be asked that you have read and understood the following before you are given login details.
There may be something you have forgotten about in your record that you might find upsetting.
Abnormal results or bad news
If your GP has given you access to test results or letters, you may see something that you find upsetting to you. This may occur before you have spoken to your doctor or while the surgery is closed and you cannot contact them. Please be assured anything that requires urgent attention will be actioned BEFORE it has been added to your patient record as information is added after review by a clinician.
Choosing to share your information with someone
It’s up to you whether or not you share your information with others – perhaps family members or carers. It’s your choice, but also your responsibility to keep the information safe and secure.
If you think you may be pressured into revealing details from your patient record to someone else against your will, it is best that you do not register for access at this time.
Your medical record is designed to be used by clinical professionals to ensure that you receive the best possible care. Some of the information within your medical record may be highly technical, written by specialists and not easily understood. If you require further clarification, please contact the surgery for a clearer explanation.
Information about someone else
If you spot something in the record that is not about you or notice any other errors, please log out of the system immediately and contact the practice as soon as possible.
For more information about keeping your healthcare records safe and secure please contact the surgery.