Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Still In The Land Of The Living

Life has been a little difficult over the last few weeks and it has affected me so much that I haven't even had the enthusiasm to blog, but I have been thinking about it and today I have decided to do something about it. I was going to venture into the garden this morning to do battle with some of my overgrown shrubs, but rain has stopped play (actually it started before I even managed to get out of the back door) so I shall write something for the blog instead.

Last Wednesday I gave a presentation about patients having access to their GP medical records online to some of the members of the local PCT. The seminar was arranged by 'B' who used to be my GP until his retirement from full-time practice last year. We are doing an increasing number of these presentations and as he is on the local PCT it was only a matter of time before I was asked to make a presentation to them. I was to be the 'star turn' at the seminar which was held at the local Town Hall and, more interestingly, in the actual Council Chamber.

The presentation went well and there were lots of questions afterwards; the rest of the seminar proved to be very interesting too. One of the outcomes of the seminar is that the PCT is to try to ensure that all GP practices within the PCT provide any patient that requires it with online access to their records. My practice was the first in the country to do this, and any practice in the country which uses a particular application for the management of patient records (this is about 60% of them, and all but one practice in the local PCT) can provide this access today at no cost to either the practice or the patient. As a result of discussions after the seminar it is possible that I may be involved in visiting all the practices in the PCT to talk to them about using this facility and encouraging them in giving their patients the same access that I enjoy.

There are a number of benefits in having access to my medical records, as well as the ability to book appointments online and to order repeat prescriptions by this method too. Visits to outpatient clinics always require you to give details of current medication and of previous illnesses, operations, and dates when symptoms occurred. In the past this has tended to be guess work for some of these things, but this is no longer the case for me as I can make a list of all the information that I am likely to be asked for, and should I be asked for some information that I do not have to hand I can access it easily while at the outpatient clinic if there is a computer to hand.

This government has wasted billions of pounds trying to develop 'Connecting for Health' which is intended to serve a similar purpose for the whole of the NHS. It is a shame that they didn't look at what was already being achieved in one part of the NHS and build on that instead of starting from scratch on a system that has cost so much money and which is felt by many to be insecure.

No comments: