Intended for healthcare professionals


Patient access to full general practice health records

BMJ 2022; 379 doi: (Published 19 December 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;379:o3019

Linked Opinion

US experience with transparent medical records should reassure doctors

Linked Opinion

When patients are victims: access to online records and medical misconduct

  1. Tessa Richards, associate editor1,
  2. Angela Coulter, chair2,
  3. Brian McMillan, senior clinical lecturer3,
  4. Maria Hagglund, associate professor4
  1. 1BMJ, London, UK
  2. 2Picker Institute Europe, Oxford, UK
  3. 3Centre for Primary Care and Health Services Research, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  4. 4Participatory eHealth and Health Data Research Group, Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala University, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to: T Richards trichards{at}

The UK government’s commitment to provide it should be realised

Many countries empower patients to take on a larger role in their care by providing them with online access to their health records.12 Transparent records, and patient access to them, are also key to improving the safety of care.3 Approaches to sharing records differ internationally. Sweden rolled it out region by region from 2012.1 The US mandated it nationally from April 2021.4 The UK government planned to do the same in England but its programme has foundered.5

NHS England’s programme to provide citizen access to general practice records was due to go live in December 2021, following a 2019 pledge to provide all patients with full digital access by default by 2020.6 But launch was put back to April 2022 and then 1 November, after the Royal College of General Practitioners said practices needed more time and training to implement it.7 In July, the college updated its online services toolkit and NHS England circulated guidance and resources …

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