NHS England announces investment to accelerate patient portals, with implementation target set

NHS England has announced a national expectation that all non-specialist acute trusts establish a patient portal in 2023/24, a letter to regional directors notes.

NHS England’s chief operating officer, Sir David Sloman, and national director for digital channels, Joe Harrison, have sent a letter to NHS directors to confirm additional investment to extend the coverage of patient portals in the new financial year.

The letter highlights “significant and exciting national investment” aimed to “extend the coverage and expand the functionality and impact of patient portals in 2023/24, both for the benefit of patients and to support your systems’ elective care recovery and transformation plans”.

It continues to note an expectation to deploy a “minimum level of functionality in support of elective recovery and work with the NHS England Wayfinder team to surface their portal through the NHS App”.

Currently 84 trusts have a patient portal, with 19 in active procurement. 26 organisations have integrated their portal with the NHS App, with 22 organisations on the roadmap to do so.

The current coverage of patient portals (March 2023) by region:

  • East of England – 69 percent coverage
  • London – 66 percent coverage
  • Midlands – 65 percent coverage
  • North East and Yorkshire – 90 percent coverage
  • North West – 44 percent coverage
  • South East – 76 percent coverage
  • South West – 71 percent coverage

On functionality, the national ask is to “enable patients to view their outpatient appointments through the portal; enable the trust to send a waiting list validation questionnaire to patients through the portal; provide patients with single point of access to contact the provider inc. cancel appointments’ and enable patients to access their correspondence through the portal.”

To support organisations, revenue funding is being made available to procure a portal or extend the functionality of an existing solution. It’s anticipated the funding will be available in April 2023.

For more information, please visit the source on the NHS Future platform here.