As reported by Pharmacy Business, over a million users embrace NHS England’s digital registration service, revolutionising access to GPs and streamlining administrative tasks, as authorities strive to balance digital advancements with traditional preferences

The online Register with a GP surgery service enables patients to easily register with a local GP practice without the need for an in-person visit, eliminating the need for physical paperwork and reducing administrative burdens on GP practice staff. The service offers accessibility in multiple languages, further enhancing its convenience.

One in three GP practices are now using the online tool, consisting of both an online registration platform and an alternative paper form. As per the recently released GP contract, all GP surgeries across England are required to provide the service starting from October 2024.

Primary Care Minister, Andrea Leadsom, reiterated that the NHS is committed to “embracing the latest technology” and this online tool “is a great example of how we are making access to GPs faster, simpler and fairer for patients.”

“Online registration frees up precious time for receptionists, cuts administration workloads and ensures our hard-working GPs and their teams have more time to focus on providing high-quality care to their patients,” she added.

Amidst these advancements, concerns persist regarding prolonged wait times for medical consultations, with more individuals experiencing delays in accessing healthcare services as per several industry reports.

Despite the momentum towards digitalisation, a substantial portion of the population, approximately 6.8 million people, still prefer traditional paper forms. To address this preference, authorities have adopted a dual approach, offering both online registration and complementary paper forms.

Dr Amanda Doyle, National Director of Primary Care and Community Services for NHS England, expressed contentment over reaching the milestone of 1 million online GP registrations, stating that it “shows the value of the service for both patients and GP surgeries.”

“We continue to see a steady increase in the number of GP practices coming on board, which is helping them to save both time and money. By recently integrating the service with the NHS App, we hope even more GP practices will take advantage of this new digital tool,” she said.

The transition from traditional paper records to Electronic Patient Records (EPR) has emerged as a primary focus of digital transformation within the NHS. With the government’s ambitious target for all NHS trusts to adopt an EPR system by March 2025, the healthcare landscape is poised for substantial modernisation.

With this online service, NHS England envisions simplifying registration for both patients and practices thereby, building trust between healthcare providers by helping patients complete the information correctly.