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Patient online arrangements under the 2016/17 GMS contract

Under the GMS contract arrangements for 2016/17 in England NHS Employers and the GPC have agreed to further develop patient online services.

Patient online contractual requirements from 2014/15 and 2015/16 continue unchanged in 2016/17. 

Ongoing requirements from 2014/15 contract:

  • Practices should offer and promote online access to booking and cancelling appointments and ordering repeat prescriptions to all patients.
  • Practices must include the NHS number as the primary identifier in all clinical correspondence issued by the practice, except in exceptional circumstances.
  • Practices should ensure they have processes in place to upload any changes to the summary care record at least once every working day.
  • Practices must use the GP2GP facility for the transfer of all patient records between practices.

Ongoing requirements from 2015/16 contract:

  • Practices should offer online access to all detailed information (information in a coded form) in the patient's electronic medical record. There is no contractual requirement to provide online access to any free text. Read more about online access to records here.
  • Practices should routinely consider whether the proportion of appointments that can be booked online needs to be increased to meet the needs of their patients and take action accordingly.

Developments for 2016/17

This year the GPC and NHS England have agreed a series of non-contractual changes to faciliate the expansion of online services in primary care. These are set out in the 2016/17 GMS contract guidance and include:

  • Practices should aim for 80% of elective referrals to be made using the NHS e-Referral Service by 31 March 2017.
  • Practices should aim for at least 80% of repeat prescriptions to be transmitted electronically using EPS release 2 by 31 March 2017.
  • GP2GP compliant practices will contiue to use the GP2GP facility to transfer patient records between practices. GMS Regulations are being amended so practices no longer have to ask NHS England for permission not to print out the electronic record in this cases.
  • NHS England and the GPC have agreed to aim for at least 10% of registered patients to be using one or more online services by 31 March 2017. This includes online access to records, online appointment booking and electronic prescriptions.
  • Practices should provide patients who request it with online access to clinical correspondence unles it may cause harm to the patient or contains references to third parties. Practices will be able to make available only those letters from a chosen date, which should be no later than 31 March 2017.
  • NHS England and the GPC will promote the completion of the HSCIC information governance toolkit. Under GMS regulations practices should also nominate a person with responsibility for procedures relating to confidentiality of personal data.
  • NHS England and the GPC will consider ways in which practices are best able to offer patients the opportunity to add additional information to their summary care record.
  • During 2016/17 NHS England and the GPC will develop a national template data sharing agreement to facilitate information sharing between practices locally for direct care purposes.
  • From 1 April all practices will be required to receive all discharge summaries and subsequent post-event messages electronically.

Download the 2016/17 GMS contract guidance from NHS Employers' website

Visit Medeconomics' Contracts page for full details of the 2016/17 contract

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