GP practices are being encouraged to join a new national online service making registering patients quicker and easier.
More than 900 GP practices - around one in seven nationally (14%) - have already enrolled for the digital Register with a GP surgery service, which is managed by NHS England. Over 240,000 online patient registrations have been completed since its launch.
The service, which enables patients or carers to go online to find and register with a local GP practice, is now available in the NHS App - simplifying the process.
GP practices process around 6 million registrations a year, with many still using paper forms, so patients often have to visit surgeries to collect paperwork.
The new online service has been shown to save GP practice staff up to 15 minutes per registration by helping to reduce paperwork and admin time. The service, available to all practices, has been rigorously tested with users and a wide variety of patient groups, including charities who support homeless people and asylum seekers.
Patients can access the service using individual practice websites and the NHS website's Find a GP service, which is also available through the NHS App. Registration is quick and easy for patients, with the service automatically checking they live in the catchment area for their new practice.
The patient's information is then automatically emailed to GP practices in a structured format aligned to their IT systems, helping reduce the time it takes staff to process registrations. The service is fully integrated with NHS login, which enables people to use one login to access several health and care services, verifying their identity. It also matches patients to their NHS numbers, with a 90% first time match rate, further cutting admin for practices.
The service is fully compatible with translator services, ensuring accessibility for patients and a new look paper form is still available for anyone that needs it.
Stephen Koch, NHS England's Executive Director of Platforms, said: “This service reduces the administrative burden for general practice as well as making GP registration even more accessible to the public, offering patients more choice, convenience and consistency.
“We're pleased to see a growing number of GP practices are coming on board, helping them save 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.”
Dr Shanker Vijay, Digital First Clinical Lead for London and a practising GP, is already using the service and also assists other practices to introduce it. He said: “We live in a ‘one-click' culture and we recognise that many busy people want online solutions.
“Vulnerable patients and those with physical access needs don't need to visit the GP surgery to register, and people can access the service at any time, including outside of working hours to fit around their other responsibilities.”
There are also plans to make the service compatible with a number of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solutions, which use bots to enable registration information to be automatically added into GP clinical systems at the touch of a button, as an optional extra. Full clinical system integration is also planned for next year.
More information on Register with a GP surgery is available here https://digital.nhs.uk/services/register-with-a-gp-surgery-service. Practices interested in offering the service can self-enrol or contact the dedicated support team, or attend the upcoming webinar on June 14, 2023 by registering here.
Notes for editors
The NHS Register with A GP surgery service was rolled out nationally in August 2022.
The service can be set up instantly via the NHS Profile Manager allowing for instant use. A standardised question set improves data quality and requests all the essential patient registration information previously collected from the GSM1 Form & New Patient Health Questionnaire. Patient information is provided in a PDF format that is readily transferable into TPP and EMIS clinical systems, resulting in less transcription errors and the need to revisit registrations to amend patient details.
Over 240,000 registrations have been completed via the service since the pilot launched in December 2021. Of these, 64% were patients switching GP practice and 36% were new registrations.
For more statistics about onboarded GPs and Regional / ICS uptake, visit the dashboard here.
The national service connects to the Personal Demographics Service (PDS) to match the patient to their record. This results in a 90% first time NHS Number match rate - this is automatically provided to the practice with the patient submission. Practices using the service are reporting they are experiencing fewer PCSE registration exceptions.
A new plan to improve access to primary care, which includes the aim for up to 2,000 practices to be enrolled with the Register with a GP surgery service by December 2023, was published by NHS England this week.