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Providing online services - GMS contract requirements

Under the GMS contract practices are required to participate in digital services including referral management, online ordering of repeat prescriptions, interoperable records, patient access to their patient record and online appointment booking.

For 2017/18 these requirements continue unchanged.

The guidance and audit requirements for these are set out in the 2015/16 GMS guidance and are summarised below.

Patient access to their GP record
It is a contractual requirement to offer online access to all information that is held in a coded form within the patient's electronic record. There is no contractual requirement to provide access to any free text. You can find more information on providing patients with online access to their record here.

Referral management
Practices must include the NHS number as the primary identifier in all NHS clinical correspondence issued by the practice.

Online ordering of repeat prescriptions
Practices must promote and offer a secure facility for all patients who wish to order repeat prescriotions online. Patients must also be able to view and print a list of their repeat prescriptions for necessaary drugs, medicines or appliances online.

Interoperable records
Practices must enable successful automated uploads of any changes to a patient's summary information, unless the patient has specifically objected to thei use of their data for the purpose, at least on a daily basis to the Summary Care Record (SCR). Practices must also use the GP2GP facility for transfer of all patient records between practices when a patient registers or de-registers.

Non-contractual arrangements

As in 2016/17, this year's contract negotiations also resulted in a number of areas that NHS England and the GPC will continue to work on together and promote to general practice. These are not contractual requirements.

Information governance
For 2017/18 the GPC and NHS England recommend that practices attain Level 2 accreditation under NHS Digital's Information Governance toolkit.

Practices will also be encouraged to implement the National Data Guardian's 10 new data standards. NHS England says it recognises there will be challenges for practices in committing to these standards and it is working with the GPC, DH and NHS Digital to provide support. Separate guidance on these standards will be availble when they come into effect. Find more information on these standards here.

Electronic repeat dispensing
In 2017/18 there is a non-contractual target for 25% of electrionic prescriptions to be converted to electronic repeat dispensing. NHS England and the GPC says co-ordination with community pharmacy will be vital to this.

Electronic prescription service
In 2016/17 NHS England and the GPC agreed a non-contractual target for 80% of repeat prescriptions to be transmitted electronically. They are aiming to further increase uptake this year.

Electronic referrals
NHS England the GPC are aiming for 90% of elective referrals to be via the NHS e-Referral Service where this is possible in 2017/18.

Patient access to online services
Practices are encouraged to aim for 20% of their registered patients to be using one or more online service by March 2018.

Clinical correspondence from secondary care
Practices should have processes in place to enable recipt of electronic clinical correspondence from providers, including discharges, A&E discharges and outpatient clinic letters.

Record sharing
Where GP2GP v2 is not available to practices the transfer of records via CD can be used. Practice need to ensure they meet the standards set out in The Good Practice Guidelines for GP Electronic Patient Records and Records Management Guidance: Digital Document Scanning.

NHS Digital is managing the migrating of systems to SNOMED CT, which should happen by the end of 2017/18. System suppliers will provide training on changes within their system. Practices are encouraged to ensure at least one person from the practice has attended the Introducing SNOWMED CT In General Practice one-hour webinar provided by NHS Digital.

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