Doctor computer systemPatients could be given the facility to switch their GP practice online under new plans to expand online access to GP services from NHS England, according to Pulse.

The plans were revealed in papers being presented to the NHS England board meeting this week that aim to give patients the “ability to transact directly with the NHS”.

The paper looks at progress on digitising patient communications with GPs, a major aim for NHS England in 2014/15, including switching GP practices. The paper also reveals that after major concerns were raised by the RCGP and the BMA over plans to give patients access to their records online by March 2015, NHS England is looking at introducing a ‘time delay’ so GPs can manage how ‘certain test results are communicated’ in patient records.

The NHS England board paper said: “This commitment has been included in the 2014/15 GP contract and work is currently underway to define in detail what the ‘GP record’ will constitute, for example how much historical data is meaningful and whether there is a time delay to allow a GP to ‘manage’ how the impact of certain test results are communicated.”

The paper adds that as well as records access, they want to go further to digitise communications with GPs.

It said: “The aim is also to give people the ability to transact directly with the NHS using technologies that allow them to book and rearrange appointments, order repeat prescriptions, track the progress of test results, contact their GP or hospital electronically with a query, provide electronic feedback and even switch GP provider.”