News, Primary Care News

NHSE opens staff awareness sessions on new patient access to GP records

Primary care patients will be able to access new entries in their own GP records from April 2022, with NHS England (NHSE) now opening information and awareness sessions to help staff adapt to the changes.

As HTN originally reported in November 2021, patients who use online accounts – such as the NHS App – and whose surgery uses either of the TPP or EMIS IT systems, were to be able to view future entries in their health records from the end of 2021 or early 2022.

However, according to GPonline, plans to allow patients this online access were pushed back until the spring, due to potential ‘safety and workload implications’, with concern from some quarters over the timing of the roll-out during a winter of high pressures and demand.

GPonline specifically cites a letter from the British Medical Association (BMA) to NHSX, which said: “The GP committee has been engaged in discussions on this and expressed significant concerns, including the timing of the launch during winter months, with anticipated unprecedented demand adding to patient safety risks that would result from a December rollout.”

Now the move to allow patients to see their future health information through GP IT systems is once again set to go ahead, although discussions with practices which use the Vision system are still underway.

Access provided to patients will include the ability to view letters, free text and documents but not specific personal information – such as positive test results – until a GP has had chance to speak to them and information has been appropriately filed and checked.

Patients will also be unable to see past or historic health record information, nor administrative tasks or communications between healthcare staff, and will only view new information once it is entered into the clinical system.

Meanwhile, practices will be able to ‘customise or remove access for individuals’ in specific situations if it is deemed appropriate.

With these changes in mind, NHSE is now urging primary care to be mindful that patients will be able to see their future records from April onwards, to ‘consider the impact of each entry’, and to manage related changes to workflow, such as redacting sensitive information.

To support these changes within general practice, NHSE is holding a number of events regarding training and the impact on different roles within primary care. The awareness sessions begin on 18 February 2022 and run until 29 March 2022, with each one roughly 45 minutes in length and taking place at lunchtimes, from 12pm to 12.45pm, on different weekdays.

To find out more about how and when to attend, visit the dedicated NHSE events page.