Online health services in England are booming, with patients on course to use web services offered by GPs to arrange more than 10 million appointments and order more than 15 million prescriptions in this financial year.

The estimate was based on figures showing that in the first half of the 2015/16 financial year, patients have ordered medication 7,681,879 times and arranged appointments 5,094,258 times online. NHS England adds that more than 97% of patients are now able to benefit from these services.

Increasing numbers of patients are also accessing their medical records online. So far this year patients have viewed their test results 268,144 times, and viewed letters about their care 257,825 times.

Speaking at the ‘Sustainable healthcare – turning concepts into reality for individuals and the NHS' conference in London, Beverley Bryant, NHS England’s director of digital technology, said: “Building on successes last year we need to expand the use of online service in general practices.

“We need to go further and faster – more patients, accessing more services and being able to view more information about their health and care.

Lynne Jones, practice manager at the Cropredy Surgery in Banbury, which is a case study in the new Patient Online guidance, added: “We have been offering these services to patients for years and increasing numbers are using them. Even those who don’t use them still benefit from fewer people calling the surgery and staff having more time to help.”