Accessing your GP-held records
via the NHS app or NHS website
The NHS wants to give people better ways to see their personal health information online. We know that people want to be able to access their health records. It can help you see test results faster. It also lets you read and review notes from your appointments in your own time.
We're now letting you see all the information within your health record. If you are over 16 and have an online account, such as through the NHS App, NHS website, or other GP online services and apps, you will now automatically be able to see all future information entered on your medical record. Some people can already access this feature, this won't change for you.
We are supportive of providing you with access to your record, but we wish to do this safely and make you aware that this is happening so that you can opt out, if you so wish.
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.
Your GP may talk to you to discuss test results before you are able to see some of your information on the app. Your GP may also talk to you before you are given full record access to make sure that having access is of benefit to you. If you are concerned that seeing your records is not right for you, you should speak to your practice.
It’s important to remember that these 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 you might prefer not to see documents that remind you of difficult times in your life. Clinical letters may go into detail about past events, and great care would be needed in deciding whether you would want to see these letters. It is possible for individual items to be hidden at your request, if this is the case please contact us via our secure online form. Your query will passed to your GP who will review and respond to you. Please be aware that it may take up to 4 weeks for us to reply to you.
Great care is also needed in case private details might cause harm at home, if you are in a difficult or pressured relationship make this clear to us at the practice, so we can take steps to keep you safe. This might mean removing access through the NHS app for the time being, or through a careful process where we hide sensitive things. We would talk this through with you. 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.
You may request to opt out, or have access switched off for the time being. To request this please complete our contact form
The NHS App, website and other online services are all very secure. You'll need to make sure you protect your login details. Do not share your password with anyone as they will then have access to your personal information.
Understanding all you can about your condition and what you need to do to stay as healthy as possible is one of the best ways of meeting your health goals.
Greta, who has an ongoing health condition, has access to her GP record and it has helped her manage her vitamin B12 deficiency. She said: “By looking at my blood tests and results, I can begin to understand what ‘normal’ means for me. Because normal is different for all of us. I look at my blood tests before I go to the doctor, so I can see my results and think about them before we speak. This means I can get questions ready in advance and feel informed at my consultation. To me, that is very, very important.”
Access to your GP record can be made through the free NHS App or online account. If you haven’t downloaded the NHS App to your smartphone or tablet, you can find out how to online via the NHS website. If you have the NHS App or an online account and you cannot see your record you can ask your practice to make it available to you. Once you have access, you will be able to see information from any consultations going forward.
Vin Diwakar, Medical Director for Secondary Care and Transformation for NHS England, said: “We believe it is every patient’s right to see the health information held about them on their GP record, that it is their information, and it should be easily accessible. This standard of care means you will be able to read your notes and better understand your own health.”
Requesting access – 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. Your GP practice can bypass this step if you are struggling, but we’d ask you to try to sign up to the NHS app yourself.
Once you have suitably authenticated yourself to the NHS app and created your NHS login you can approach your practice 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. If you have any concerns, you should explain these to your GP practice team who can guide you.
We will have a form obtainable from Reception, that we will ask you to complete, with your NHS login (this will be the email address you used to sign up). Your request will be passed to the clinical team to review. It may be that we will need to contact you to discuss your request if there are any concerns raised so that access can be given safely. We’re not sure how many people will ask for access all at once so there may be a wait, but we will do our best to get you online access as soon as we can.
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