Online Access to Prospective Records
All practices nationally have been asked to provide patients with prospective access to their medical record from 31st October 2023. Access is via the NHS app and/or NHS website if you have a suitable NHS login.
Your GP medical record contains consultation notes based on conversations between you, your GP and their team: medicines prescribed to you; all test results including hospital investigations; allergies; vaccines; and your medical conditions along with documents that may have been sent from local hospitals, clinics or other agencies, eg. the police. There is likely to be sensitive and personal information within your medical record.
We are supportive of providing you with access to your record, but we wish to do this safely. You will need to understand the risks which may be involved in having such confidential data either on your smartphone with the NHS app installed or online if there is a possibility that other people might have access to that information through your devices. If you are in a difficult or pressured relationship for example, you may prefer your records to remain accessible only to those treating you, with them not appearing on your smartphone or online. Government has been clear that if a patient does not wish to have access, then we do not have to provide it.
For those who would like access, there are now different levels:
Everyone already has access to their medication history and allergies, and can order their repeat prescriptions, if they use the NHS App or have an NHS login set up.
As of 31st October 2023 you will be able to request access to your prospective record which will allow you to see everything which gets added to your record starting from the date your request is approved.
For several years now it has also been possible to request access to what we call your retrospective ‘coded record’ where you can see historical data contained in your record. The application process for this level of access can take much longer due to the workload involved and the need for a GP to review the whole of your medical record as part of the application process.
It’s important to remember that medical documents may, at times, contain information that could be upsetting, especially if they contain news of a serious condition. It can also be a cause for worry seeing results online when it isn’t clear what the results might mean, and no one is available to ask, as can be the case during the evening or at weekends, for example.
Sometimes people might prefer not to see information that remind them of difficult times in their life. Letters from healthcare providers sometimes need to go into detail about past events, and great consideration would be needed in deciding whether you would want to see these letters.
Consideration is also needed if there is a possibility that private details might cause harm at home, should people in a difficult or pressured relationship be forced to show their medical record to an abusive partner.
Requesting access to prospective records – what do I need to do?
The easiest way to get access is to create an NHS login through the NHS app. Although you can also access your GP records via the internet on a computer, the first bit is easiest if done through a smartphone. If you don’t have one, you may have a family member or friend you trust who can help you.
If you use the NHS app, you’ll have to set up an account using a unique e-mail address and then ‘authenticate’ yourself to the NHS system to prove you are who you say you are. This will involve confirming your name, date of birth and contact details. The NHS login has several levels of authentication and to gain access to your records you’ll need the highest level of authentication. This generally involves you recording a short video of yourself to prove you are a real person as well as uploading a copy of a suitable identification document.
Once you have suitably authenticated yourself to the NHS app and created your NHS login you can contact us and ask for access, being mindful of the risks associated with access and the importance of not sharing passwords or having them stored in your smartphone if you think other people might want to see them without your permission.
We will provide you with an application form (or you can download it (Application for prospective online access) to complete and bring back to the surgery with relevant items of identification. Your application will then be passed to a GP for review. As we are unsure as to how many people will ask for prospective access there may be a wait, but we will do our best to get you online access as soon as we can.