Doctors, nurses, and other authorised health and care professionals will now be able to access primary care medical records to help them deliver safer and more effective care and provide flexibility for patients during the Covid pandemic.
NHS Digital and NHSX have introduced GP Connect to all practices, which will enable the secure sharing of patient records across primary care.
Health and care professionals have the information necessary to give patients the care they need quickly and effectively, regardless of whether they are registered at that practice or have accessed that service before.
In addition, NHS 111 staff will be able to book direct appointments for patients at any GP practice or specialist centre.
Additional Information will also be added to patients’ Summary Care Records and will be made available to a wider group of authorised, registered, and regulated health and care professionals so that clinicians can quickly assess and treat patients.
The additional information will be automatically added to the Summary Care Record of any patient who has not expressed a preference that information isn’t shared and will include significant medical history, reasons for medications, care plan information, and immunisations.
These changes will increase information sharing across health and care professionals working in primary care, NHS 111 and other care settings where access is required for patients’ direct care.
Richard Alcock, Interim Director of Primary Care Technology at NHS Digital said: ‘This step is crucial to support clinicians so that they can give timely and accurate clinical advice to their patients at a time when they are already under unprecedented stress and having to work in completely new ways to deliver care.
‘At this time, there are many who need medical help but are unable to contact their usual GP or specialist service. Away from their usual care setting, they can find themselves at a disadvantage when they try to get treatment, whether routine or urgent.
Alcock noted that: ‘During the current lockdown, this could become a real stumbling block to getting the help they need.’
Matthew Gould, Chief Executive at NHSX said: ‘Colleagues on the front line across the NHS are doing extraordinary work in caring for our patients in the most challenging of circumstances, and these temporary changes will help them to give the most prompt and appropriate care to people who need it.’