If you care for someone with dementia, you may wish to set up an online GP account on their behalf, or access their existing online account.
To do this, you must be named a ‘trusted person’ by the person and their GP. Your GP might refer to this as ‘proxy access’.
To appoint you as a trusted person, you will need consent from the person with dementia.
To be able to consent, the person must have the mental capacity to make an informed decision – the GP can assess whether they have capacity.
See Sources of support, below, for our information on capacity and decision-making.
If the person is deemed to have capacity, you will be asked to fill in a three-part form from their GP surgery.
Part one names the trusted person
Part two states which online services the trusted person will have access to – appointments, prescriptions and/or GP records
Part three is signed by the person with dementia to confirm that they want you to have access to their GP online services, either now or in the future. You can help them fill in the other parts of the form, but they must sign it themselves
You will then need to visit the GP together, both taking photographic ID such as a passport or driving licence.
The GP may ask to see the person with dementia alone to ensure they are happy for you to be their trusted person, and to ask whether there is any information that they would like kept private.
The decision on whether to appoint you as a trusted person may take around two weeks.
If the need is urgent, ask to speak to the GP, as they may be able to make the decision more quickly.
The GP can decide not to give you access to any or all of the person’s online services if they feel it is not in their best interests.
As dementia progresses, the person with the diagnosis may get to a stage where they no longer have capacity to make some decisions.
In this situation, the GP may be able to name you as a trusted person without the person’s consent.
However, accessing online GP services for a person who lacks capacity is much easier if you set up a lasting power of attorney (LPA) while they are still able to make informed decisions.
This is a legal document that appoints a person (or persons) to make decisions on someone’s behalf if they are unable to do so.
There are two types of LPA: one for health and welfare, and another for property and financial affairs.
You can make one type or both, but the health and welfare LPA is the one that will allow you to make decisions about health and social care on the person’s behalf.
See Sources of support, below, for our information on LPA.
Being named an attorney for health and welfare does not guarantee that the GP will nominate you as a trusted person if the person with dementia cannot consent, so it is still advisable to apply to become a trusted person while they have capacity.
It is also helpful to register as a carer with your own GP. They will have a carer registration form for you to complete.
This will entitle you to carer’s support such as health checks, mental health support, and free flu jabs.
See Sources of support, below, for information on registering as a carer with your GP.
To speak to a dementia specialist Admiral Nurse about using GP online services or any other aspect of dementia, call our free Helpline on 0800 888 6678 (Monday-Friday 9am-9pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am-5pm, every day except 25th December), or email email@example.com.