NHS Connecting for Health (CfH) have announced that more than 2,000 practices are now using GP2GP software, and more than 25,000 GP2GP record transfers have taken place.
CfH has praised "a massive collaborative effort between a number of parties," including "primary care trusts, strategic health authorities, the GP professional bodies and, of course, the clinical system suppliers."
GP2GP enables patients' electronic health records to be transferred directly and securely between practices.
Once the patient's identity has been confirmed, their electronic health record can be requested and, if their former practice is GP2GP-enabled, transferred electronically.
Dr Agnelo Fernandes, a GP in Croydon PCT, says: "This is a major advance on the paper-based process. GP2GP has been a very successful initiative so far, both in terms of the benefits it's delivering and in terms of the technical solution working consistently well. It's very refreshing to have medical information available for patients when they present for the first time."
CfH argue that the fast availability of the electronic record makes for more efficient, focused consultations, with clinicians in practices no longer "flying blind" for a month or two or, alternatively, having to waste valuable time chasing other practices for information.
It says that inner city and university practices will be among the biggest beneficiaries of GP2GP, as they often have to cope with many hundreds of patient transfers each year.
Mrs Christine Franklin, a practice manager at the University Health Service in Sheffield, says: "We can get 5,000 new students registering here in a single week at the start of the academic year, with a further 1,000 then dribbling in over the subsequent 12 months.
"Now, where patients come to us from other practices that are using GP2GP, we are receiving their electronic health records literally within minutes."
"GP2GP is starting to save us a lot of time on the administrative front. We are able to pace our work a lot better within the university health service. I think GP2GP will be a tremendous help in the future as more and more practices start to use it."
Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)
"Our Practice is using GP2GP. Although we believe in the theory of the system, the reality is far from perfect. We are working towards data accreditation, which should surely have been the first hurdle for practices to achieve prior to using GP2GP. Most of the data we have received cannot be entered onto the patient computer records, we have to wait for the paper notes to appear as there are far too many inaccuracies' - Name and address supplied