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Nearly a quarter of a million Norfolk patients use electronic prescription service

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs. Photo: Grainge Photography/RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs. Photo: Grainge Photography/RCGP

Grainge Photography/RCGP

Tens of thousands more people in Norfolk are opting to order their prescriptions online than two years ago, according to NHS data.

The Royal College of GPs has called electronic prescribing services “hugely successful”, saying online technology can benefit doctors and patients alike.

Over the past two years, 74, 535 patients in the county signed up to request repeat prescriptions online, according to figures from GPs in the area.

The number of people registered with the service has gone up from 168,683 in October 2016, to 243,218 last month - a rise of 44pc.

So far this year, 746, 651 prescriptions have been requested. That was the equivalent of 2,045 a day.

The option to book appointments online has also become more popular.

The figures show the number of appointments booked, changed or cancelled online has risen over the last two years.

The Royal College of GPs called online services a “benefit” to GPs, practice teams and patients. College chairman Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: “GPs have always been at the forefront of new innovation. We pioneered both electronic patient records and electronic prescribing in the NHS.”

Prof Stokes-Lampard said that patients having online access to their GP surgery can be both convenient for patients and time-saving for busy doctors and practice staff.

She said that electronic prescribing services that link surgeries directly to pharmacies have also been “hugely successful”.

She added: “However, whilst these services can undoubtedly benefit some patients, they might not be suitable for everyone.

“That’s why it’s important that surgeries are also able to continue to offer more traditional means of delivering their services, for patients who prefer to speak to their practice directly.”

NHS England said it would “seek to take further advantage of digital tools, whilst continuing to provide traditional services”.

Chief digital officer Juliet Bauer said: “The NHS wants to empower the public to take more control of their own healthcare. It’s incredibly positive that over 15 million, or over 25% of, patients in England are signed up to online services in their GP practice and so many are going online to order repeat prescriptions and book GP appointments.”

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