The Welsh Assembly has announced plans for an online service that will allow patients in Wales to book appointments with their GPs and order repeat prescriptions.
The My Health Online site is still in development but has undergone local trials in Anglesey, Carmarthenshire, Swansea and Bridgend. The new NHS website could be rolled out across the country by the end of the year following a £1.7m pledge to fund the service by health minister Edwina Hart.
Patients using the site can also view their medical records, as well as being able to contact their local surgery online, reducing the need for lengthy, often unnecessary journeys.
Ms Hart said: “The demand for online GP services is increasing and we recognise that providing accessible information is critical if we want to enable people to change their lifestyles and improve their health.
“The Welsh Assembly Government is also committed to improving access to health services for people living in rural communities. My Health Online will particularly save lengthy journeys to GP practices.
“The website will also help empower people to take responsibility for their own health through the completion of a health diary which can be shared with their GP.”
It is intended that all GP practices in Wales will take part so patients will use the same online service wherever they log on.