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Online access for services has tripled in general practice

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More patients can book appointments online More patients are now able to book appintments online

The number of GP practices offering online appointments, repeat prescriptions and access to medical records has tripled since the beginning of this year.

Data published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre shows that over 97% of patients in England can access online services, compared with only 3% in April 2014.

Patients are still able to contact their GP practice by phone or in person but will also have the option to do it online. NHS England is encouraging patients to ask their GP surgery to set up their online access next time they visit.

Beverley Bryant, director of digital technology for NHS England, said: 'Many patients want the flexibility of booking services online so we are delighted that GPs have worked to hard to make this possible. There is more to come as we develop services that will increasingly help patients take more control of their health.'

Dr Masood Nazir, GP and national clinical lead for NHS England's patient online programme, said: 'In our team we have a mixture of GPs and practice nurses so we have a good representation of the practice team. Practice nurses regularly see patients with long term conditions and a lot of these patients require regular contact with the practices, regular prescriptions and access to their medical records.'

'When patients have seen their records, it means they are more informed when they come to surgery, and their consultations are more functional. In the future we want to offer more variety of appointments online. This will include nurse appointments for specific tests, nurse appointments for diabetes and vaccinations which were previously unavailable to book online so we want to develop some of these areas,' added Dr Nazir.

The government has committed to make the NHS paperless by 2018. This means that every one will be able to access their full health records online, with details of all their GP and hospital visits, prescriptions, test results and adverse reactions and allergies.

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