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General practice readiness checklist

Below is a general practice readiness checklist for general practice to use to ensure they are prepared for the upcoming changes of providing prospective (future) access to all patients. It signposts to relevant resources that include an updated RCGP GP Online Services toolkit, a suite of videos and learning from early adopter sites.


Download the GP practice readiness checklist

To access this you will need to sign into FutureNHS.

Policies and processes should be reviewed or updated

Review new and current policies to ensure they reflect patients having prospective record access.

Practices to consider the following

Staff should be fully trained

All staff, including locums, should receive the necessary training with regards to how to redact, identify at-risk patients (and remove access when necessary), and enter information that is suitable for patient view. Practice staff should be familiar with any changes to the registration process(es) of new patients to enable identification of potentially at-risk patients.

See the patient registration section on the RCGP GP Online Services toolkit

A range of webinars are available to practice staff and trainers who are encouraged to attend and should familiarise themselves with any change in business processes and GP system functionality. 


Staff should be made aware that patients will see their records

Consider appointing an online services champion/lead and ensure practice staff are familiar with your practice processes and are made aware that there may be an increase in patient queries relating to record access. 

See frequently asked questions on FutureNHS.  

It may also be useful to articulate the potential benefits to your patients and staff

Patient benefits

Expanded health knowledge and feeling of autonomy can empower patients and carers, leading to increased knowledge and health literacy.

People who can access their own health information have been shown to have greater compliance with treatment regimens, a better understanding of their conditions and could improve patient self-care and safety.

People can also review up-to-date and relevant information before or after their consultation, at any time of the day.

Staff benefits

Following an initial rise in new enquiries as practices and patients become familiar with routine record access, we expect this change to reduce administrative workload for practice staff by reducing patient phone calls, emails, and visits.

Although GPs will be required to consider the potential impact of each entry, and customise or remove access for some individuals in rare cases, we expect that the overall long term benefits will outweigh any increase in workload due to improvements in communications and data quality.


Ensure prospective access to patients is being promoted and offered

You should be starting to promote and offer prospective access to your patients and ensuring patients who should not have access are engaged prior to your GPIT system being updated by your system supplier.

In-house promotion may include:

  • advertising on practice website and social media (if applicable)
  • advertising in practice, for example, using posters nearby patient's check-in
  • notifying patient participation groups in your area and review feedback 
  • proactively target patient groups who may benefit from having access to their record prior to 'switch-on'
  • ensuring a services registration form is included in new-patient registration packs
  • highlighting in the practice answerphone message
  • advertising on repeat prescription forms

Some example patient communications for practices can be found below.

From our engagement with patient groups, we believe these will ensure effective communication with patients, however practices may wish to tailor or adapt the messaging as appropriate.  

Understand and minimise the risk to patients

The clinical safety case report for the Citizen Access to GP Records Programme reviews the identified hazards associated with automatic access to prospective record information and describes the mitigations that are required to minimise the risk to patients.

It is important to recognise the importance of training and awareness, particularly within primary care to manage the risks outlined in the document.

Read the clinical safety case report (FutureNHS login required)

Patient communications for practices

Example SMS templates, templates and images to help you promote this service to patients.  


Further information

internal Tell your patients about the NHS App

We've updated our resources - get posters and leaflets to print, a film to show on your waiting room screen, guidance on using text messages and images for your social media and website.

Last edited: 8 December 2022 11:26 am