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Julian Harrison  The government’s drive to offer online patient services at every GP practice by 2015 gained momentum recently – when health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced they were to be part of the new NHS mandate.

Within just three years, all NHS patients should be able to view their medical records, book and cancel appointments online, order repeat prescriptions and email their GP.

The good news is that it’s not just patients who benefit from online services; there are many advantages for the practice and GPs, too. You can cut down on admin, phone calls and queues at the front desk; reduce prescription errors and potentially involve patients with chronic conditions more in their own care. Some practices still have concerns about offering online services, including issues over patient confidentiality.