New online service for repeat prescriptions and appointments

Health Minister Michelle O'Neill. (Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.)
Health Minister Michelle O'Neill. (Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.)

Health Minister Michelle O’Neill has officially launched online services for booking GP appointments and ordering repeat prescriptions from practices.

The Minister visited Grove Wellbeing Centre in Belfast to see how accessing services online can help improve patient experience and reduce bureaucracy in primary care services.

Booking a GP appointment and ordering repeat prescriptions online are now available from 200 of 344 GP practices in Northern Ireland.

The Minister said the new services would provide “extra convenience and choice” for patients, whilst also helping to reduce paperwork for staff.

She added that since April 2016, 93,910 GP appointments have been booked and 547,715 prescriptions have been ordered online.

Mrs O’Neill said: “It is clear these services are needed and well used already, so this expansion is particularly welcome.

“Since my appointment as Health Minister I have continually urged the health service to seek out what works well and replicate it where possible – this is a perfect example and I would encourage people to actively use the facility where possible.

“This new way of doing things is a key element of my vision for the future of our health and social care services. This is improvement and modernisation in action.”

The Health and Social Care Board has been working with NI Direct to expand public facing online services and make them more readily available

Dr Margaret O’Brien, head of General Medical Services with the HSC Board added: “The Board is delighted to have funded this initiative and is pleased that so many of our GP practices have opted to offer this service to their patients.

“These services are an extra option for accessing your GP surgery and will not replace traditional ways of contacting your GP surgery such as by phone or in person.”