How to Find the Best Online Doctor

Best online doctor

Find the Best online doctor

Ratings from the NHS in England can help find the best online doctor.  More and more GP Practices are offering online services in the English NHS system.  It is now potentially possible to book appointments online and order repeat prescriptions over the internet.  Patient’s medical records are also available to view online.  Comparing how well local General Practitioners provide online facilities is possible.  Not everyone knows how to find this information, the explains how to compare local facilities for free.


1. How to find the Best Doctor – not Just Online Doctor
2. Do Local GP Practices Offer Online Booking Appointments
3. Does my GP Practice Offer Online Prescriptions
4. Can I View my Medical Record Online Digitally?
5. How Secure are my GP online records
6. Benefits of Finding the Best Online Doctor

Initiatives to improve digital services, NHS approved apps and online systems are being promoted throughout England.  The specific online system used by your GP practice may provide access to additional NHS approved apps and facilities, not just appointment booking and prescription ordering.  Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and health organisations throughout England are pushing to try and make care and treatment smarter and efficient.  The range of apps and services is increasing each month.  Specific apps and digital programs vary in each local area.  If you are interested in knowing the full benefit of registering for NHS based online services locally in your area, ask your doctor for further information.

Younger generations, students living away from home or individuals who travel for work are key beneficiaries from the introduction of internet based medical services.  The English NHS is promoting online services as a way for patients to access their own medical records so they can be more informed.  A more informed patient can have specific and targeted discussions with doctors, in the constricted appointment time.  There are benefits to both doctors and patients in the development of online services.

The NHS is a huge organisation, providing vast amounts of information.  The website collates key information sources in one central location.  Details about which family doctors in your area offer online facilities are available.  Comparisons can also be viewed showing how embedded these online facilities are within the practice.

How to Find the Best Doctor – not just an Online Doctor

Using ratings to find the best doctor, not just the best online doctor is important.  The availability of internet based medical facilities such as appointment bookings is a positive for patients.  Choosing a GP Practice should not just be based upon if online prescriptions and access to medical records via the internet is available.  A GP practice provides important care and treatment and often refers to specialists and hospital facilities.  Huge amounts of information ranking doctors performance and rating how patients perceive the treatment and care received is available online.  In the same way as products are reviewed on Amazon and hotels are rated on general practitioners are rated and scored throughout England.

Your local GP is rated by the NHS for the care and treatment they provide by patients.  Patients are surveyed twice a year and asked questions about the quality of care they receive.  Patients comparing GP Practices should view the overall rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).  The CQC inspect all 7,000 practices in England and rate them against a range of criteria.  An ‘Outstanding’ rating is the best possible result.  This is far better than care providers who are ‘Good’ or ‘Require Improvement’.

To find the best ranked doctors in your area, as rated by the CQC

  1. Visit the Best GP in my town page
  2. In the ‘Metric Group’ choose ‘Overall rating from the Care Quality Commission’
  3. Enter your postcode in the ‘in a location’ section
  4. Then choose a distance from this postcode
  5. In the ‘sort by’ box, choose ‘Care Quality Commission Inspection Ratings’
  6. Click ‘update results’

Ratings for medical practices are shown.  The best ratings are shown as ‘Outstanding’ and the lowest ranking with a ‘Inadequate’.   Practices can also be rated as ‘Good’ or ‘Requires Improvement’.

Finding a doctor that provides online prescriptions, appointments and access to medical records is great, but not if they are judged to ‘require improvement’ by the Care Quality Commission.  The Best Gp in my town facility is important and a useful tool to use before changing Medical Centre to one that offers internet based services.

As a patient you are free to leave a GP Practice and move to another surgery, providing they accept you.  Unhappiness with the restricted level of internet based facilities offered by your current health centre could be a factor in wanting to change surgeries.  No reason needs to be given to your current GP Practice when moving practices.  Before you start the process of changing your family doctor because you are unhappy they don’t offer a digital facility for repeat prescriptions, consider the overall quality of care provided.

Do Local GP Practices Offer Online Booking Appointments

Being able to book appointments online is a great development by local GP Practices.  Patients have been frustrated for many years about the task of trying to book an appointment over the phone.  Lines are often engaged each morning as patients try and book an appointment.  Patients who work and struggle to phone their family doctor during hours of employment can find a digital solution  very helpful.  It is not difficult to access internet based booking facilities.  Accessing online appointments normally require the patient to register interest with the GP Practice, either by phone or in person.  Log in details and passwords are provided by the surgery before the patient can access the free service.  The exact process will vary from establishment to establishment.

Not all GP Surgeries offer online appointment booking facilities.  It is easy to check which health centres in your area provide access to online services.  Checking is easy and free.

  • Visit the GP Ratings page
  • Enter your postcode
  • In the ‘TOPICS’ section, choose ‘Online Facilities’
  • Update results

A simple ‘YES’ or ‘NO next to the GP Practice name indicates if each surgery has a system for patients to book appointments online.  This information is updated every month and is only two months out of date.  This free tool shows quickly which practices offer online facilities at a glance.

The percentage of patients who have signed up to an online appointment booking service is also shown.  The higher the percentage the more embedded a culture of online services may be.

Does my GP Practice Offer Online Prescriptions

Not all GP Practices in England offer online prescription services, it is easy to find out if they do.  Forward thinking family doctors will offer internet based access to repeat prescription ordering and viewing.  Currently this is not standard in the 7,000 surgeries in England.  The free to use tool on the GP Ratings page highlights with a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer if your local GP Practices offer a digital facility.  The percentage of registered patients currently signed up to use the service is also stated.  To check this facility quickly and for free:

  • Visit GP Ratings
  • Enter your postcode
  • In the ‘TOPICS’ section, choose ‘Online Facilities’
  • Update results

Further information is available from the electronic prescription service.  This service is especially useful for patients getting regular prescriptions for conditions such as diabetes.  The electronic prescription service means your prescriptions can be sent directly to a pharmacy near your home or work.  With this service it is not necessary to visit your NHS doctor, as paper repeat prescriptions don’t need to be collected from a GP.  A good pharmacist will prepare your script in advance, enabling collection without a long wait.  The video below explains the service in more detail, highlighting the benefits of reduce waiting times.

Can I View my Medical Record Online Digitally?

Most General Practitioners offer the facility to view your medical records online digitally.  Making patient records available over the internet has become very popular within the NHS since 2015.  Finding out if GP Practices in your area offer the facility to check medical records online is not difficult.  Visit GP Ratings, enter your postcode, in the ‘TOPICS’ section, choose ‘Online Facilities’ and then click ‘Update results’.  Family doctors that have the facilities to allow patients to view medical records over the internet are shown with a ‘YES’.  Those not offering this service as yet will have a ‘NO’.  The NHS updates this data on a very regular basis, so it is worth checking back in a few months time to see if your local practices offer the service.

Once you find a medical centre that provides an online record facility it should be relatively easy to access this service.  There should not be any charge for accessing your medical records online as part of the English NHS.  Doctors or reception staff should be able to provide guidance or possibly literature highlighting how to use the services.

Not all patients will be able to access their medical records.  Once an application is made to request internet access to records, a decision is taken by practice staff concerning who to grant access to.  Most patients are granted this access.  Some patients may have their access limited due to specific circumstances, such as their particular medical conditions.  Other patients may be denied access to their own medical records, one common reason for this is safeguarding issues.  This is when the safety of the patient may be at risk if access to records is provided and so the medical practice refuse access.

How Secure are my GP online records

The NHS in England has taken a number of steps to secure your GP online records and privacy.  Before access is provided to online services the practice must be happy with the identification you have provided.  If they are not happy they will not grant access to records.  Often a combination of photographic identification and proof of address is required.  Individual log in and password details will then be provided, but only when the practice is satisfied.

After digital access has been granted it is possible for the medical practice to remove access rights.  This can be at the request of the patient, for example if they are unhappy with using the facility.  It could also be due to the practice having concerns about the use of digital facilities and online events.  This process is designed to protect the privacy of the patient, to make the system secure and robust.  Your practice manager or receptionist should be able to provide full details of the processes used to protect your information.

Benefits of Finding the Best Online Doctor

Finding the best online doctor has a number of benefits.  Internet based patient record access through your NHS GP offers more control over your own health.  Valuable time can also be saved, these are the two main reasons for accessing online patient records.  Patients can save time by not having to visit a GP in person to ask for a prescription or appointment.  Online facilities can make this possible remotely.  Booking an appointment is also a more streamlined process.  Patients don’t have to try and get through by phone when they do need an appointment.   Instead, patients simply access their records online and book an appointment at a convenient time.

Individuals who travel a lot have additional benefits through being able to access medical records online.  Taking your password and login details with you when travelling allows medical records to be viewed by health sector staff who may be treating you if you are working away or on holiday.  These practitioners, using internet based systems, can access information to help inform decisions to help your care and treatment.

Patients are also encouraged to learn more about the conditions they have been diagnosed with.  Online records include information concerning illnesses, treatments, test results and outpatient appointments.  Members of the public who can access their records via the internet are able to research their conditions online independently.  This research can generate the opportunity to have more informed discussions when patient / doctor appointments take place.  Patients may also be able to research ways to self-care, for example by finding ways to adjust their diet or routine to manage their condition.

The specific online system used by your GP Practice may also enable you to access additional NHS approved apps and online services.  Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and health organisations throughout England are pushing to try and make care and treatment smarter.  The range of apps and services is increasing each month.  If you are interested in knowing the full benefit of registering for NHS based online services locally in your area, ask your doctor or GP Practice for further information and a list of apps or services supported in your local area.