Image source: NHS England
More than 425,000 patients have used the online Register with a GP service since it was launched a year ago, NHS England has announced.
It also said that the service has been shown to save GP surgery staff up to 15 minutes per registration by helping to reduce paperwork and admin time.
The service invites patients to go online to find a local GP and register without having to visit in person.
It connects to the Personal Demographics Service (PDS) to match the patient to their record, which results in a 90% first time NHS Number match rate. This is automatically provided to the practice with the patient submission.
NHS England said almost half (48%) of all patients using the online tool registered outside normal GP surgery opening hours, while two thirds (68%) were switching GPs. Other submissions included patients registering with a GP for the first time, newborns and ex-military patients.
One in five
Stephen Koch, executive director of platforms, said: “We’re pleased to see one in five GP surgeries are now part of the national online Register with a GP surgery service, giving patients an improved experience and helping to reduce known barriers that exist with GP registration.
“Patients no longer have to visit a surgery to register as they can access the service any time, outside working hours, using the internet or NHS App.
“It is free for GP surgeries to use and saves them time by making the process much simpler.”
More than 1,400 GP surgeries – one in five nationally - have already joined the registration service, as part of a new plan to improve access to primary care, which aims for 2,000 practices to be enrolled by December 2023.
Dr Matt Curtis, a GP at Holycroft Surgery in Keighley, West Yorkshire, said: “The feedback is really positive - more and more people are gaining confidence to use digital tools for accessing health services. Registering with a GP online is easier and more convenient for many people.”
Patients can access the service using individual GP surgery websites and the NHS website's Find a GP service, which is also available through the NHS App.
In developing the service, NHS England worked with charities including Doctors of the World which supports people seeking asylum, and Groundswell which works with people with experience of homelessness to develop the new online service.