Intended for healthcare professionals


Commentary: UK general practice moves to open notes to patients

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 10 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h266
  1. Amir Hannan, general practitioner
  1. 1Haughton Thornley Medical Centres, Hyde, UK
  1. amir.hannan{at}

Patients enrolled with the Haughton Thornley Medical Centres in East Manchester have been able to get full online access to their general practice records since 2005. We have used access to records as a foundation for developing a “partnership of trust” with our patients.1 When the patient can see the same information as the clinician, it can foster a more equal relationship and lead to improved care.

Our experience has shown that it is not sufficient to simply provide patients with viewing rights. They need to understand the content of their records too. This has been helped by adopting an explicit consent model (, which they sign up to before we open their notes to them. We also seek to promote understanding and use of medical information through our practice based web portal ( This was designed and developed with patients and their carers. The resources it provides include information that has been coproduced by patients and staff as well as information about local services. Over the past eight years the number of patients with open access to their records has risen steadily, and currently 32% (3776) have access. We have supported patients and families from disadvantaged backgrounds and ethnic minority groups to sign up for online services. Of the 3776 patients who currently have access to their full records, 433 are Bengali and eight have learning difficulties. Testamonials from patients suggest they value access and use records actively.2


Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h266


  • doi:10.1136/bmj.g7785
  • Competing interests: I have read and understood BMJ policy on declaration of interests and have no relevant interests to declare.

  • @amirhannan

  • Provenance and peer review: Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.


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