Primary Care News

GP Connect introduced to all GP practices and specialist care centres

NHS Digital and NHSX have announced GP Connect has been introduced to all GP practices to support the secure sharing of patient records across primary care.

The organisations have also announced additional information will be added to the Summary Care Record during the Coronavirus pandemic.

It introduces the ability to share appointments across GP practices and also allows NHS 111 to book appointments at appropriate surgeries and specialist centres.

Richard Alcock, Interim Director of Primary Care Technology at NHS Digital said “GPs and other front-line clinicians are increasingly finding themselves working differently, with normal working patterns disrupted and a greater pressure than seen before on the system.”

“Patients will now be able to have appointments booked at practices other than where they are registered as well as at a number of different healthcare settings.  However, for that to work in practice, their new clinicians will need to have swift access to pertinent medical information, such a previous medical history or medications prescribed, to treat them safely.”

The roll-out comes in response to support GPs and authorised health and care professionals during the Coronavirus epidemic access primary care records for patients registered at other practices.

Additional Information will also be added to patients’ Summary Care Records – this will also be made available to a wider group of authorised, registered and regulated health and care professionals.

This includes significant medical history (past and present), reason for medication, anticipatory care information (such as information about the management of long term conditions), end of life care information (from the SCCI1580 national dataset) and immunisations.

NHS Digital said the changes will only be enabled for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency period and will revert back afterwards.

Alcock said “We have produced guidance with NHSX for GP practices to help them enable the GP Connect change quickly and without any hassle so that they can benefit from this functionality, providing them with the information they need to do their jobs effectively.

“This step is crucial to support clinicians so that they can give timely, accurate clinical advice to their patients at a time when they are already under unprecedented stress and having to work in completely new ways to deliver care.”

Matthew Gould, Chief Executive at NHSX said “Colleagues on the frontline across the NHS are doing extraordinary work in caring for our patients in the most challenging of circumstances, and these temporary changes will help them to give the most prompt and appropriate care to people who need it.”