It started with Nicola talking about her difficulties of being treated in 5 different hospitals and the fact that none of them are able to talk to each other and know what the other is doing. She wishes she could access her records so that she can then share them with the other doctors and not have to keep repeating herself and just not knowing what is going on. This contrasts with Ingrid's experience where she can go home and sat in her kitchen read what the doctor or nurse has said, check up if her blood tests or scans are back and make notes which she can take with her when she goes to the hospital. This all helps her to understand what is happening. When she comes to the surgery, she can have a "proper chat" on what all this means instead of just watching the doctor read off the screen what she could read at home.
We invite patients to sign up for online services but also signpost patients to relevant practice-based information via the practice website www.htmc.co.uk.in the video you see Dr Hannan showing Ingrid a video about Back Pain - you can see it yourself by typing in "back pain" on the search engine at the top of www.htmc.co.uk. Have a go and see if you can find it too. You will also find a variety of other useful tips and suggestions, such as what we are doing for you in the surgery, help from the healthy trainer service to help reduce weight, exercises you can do, the Back pain Map of Medicine pathway, what you can do if you sit in the car a lot and one of our favourites - the Pain Toolkit written by a patient who has suffered with back pain for a long time and learned how to manage it. We take the pain out for you by finding the best resources that are relevant to you and then making it available for you to easily access. And when we find new things that you tell us work then we add them for others to benefit too. You can see the Back Pain page by clicking on the link below that Dr Hannan was sharing with Ingrid in the video - let's make it easy for people to find relevant information for them. Let's show you where to find it in the consulting room and then let you continue your learning after you leave so that you can inform others too!
This is all part of our ways of working which we call a "Partnership of Trust" where we recognise your unique contribution where you make literally hundreds and thousands of decisions in your life every day - what you eat, what you do, what you drink, when you sleep, when you go for a walk, when you spend time with your family, what you do together, what medications you choose to take, when you check your blood pressure at home, what you choose to read and when you contact the surgery. We know you cannot always make these decisions on your own and that's where we come and help you with all our staff - receptionists, health care assistants, nurses, doctors and management team. We are here to serve you!
But what about the concerns that were raised? What happens if you might have symptoms of a cancer? Would it be right to read this on a computer. We would like to think that we always share our concerns with you and raise the possibility that you may have a serious or upsetting diagnosis. Of course we cannot diagnose you with something like cancer without having to refer you usually to the hospital for further tests and investigations. Often this may require you to be seen within 2 weeks so that delays are minimised and we would tell you this when we are doing it. That should not be a surprise for you when you go home and read it on your computer.
Sometimes we might not be expecting you to have cancer - it happens out of the blue. That's different because how can we know this before hand. But of course you will know that all patients at Haughton Thornley Medical Centres must complete an online questionnaire before they are granted access to their records. We ask patients how they may react to seeing bad or upsetting news. We have done this from the start with every single patient because we know this can happen and want to ensure you know what to do before it happens. Here is a link to the questionnaire. (Please do not complete this if you are NOT a patient of ours - it makes it difficult for us but we are happy to share what we do with the outside world)
We also provide information and even videos on YouTube for patients to watch so that you can see what to do - see Big Issues (part 2)
And of course you can contact us so that we can call you back if need be usually the same day. It's all part of the excellent services we wish to offer our patients. Currently 32% of all our patients with cancer have access to their records. They can choose to read what is happening and share their records with others or they can choose not to. It is their choice. Many patients and families have described how helpful this has been for them and reduced their fears by seeing all the excellent work everybody in the NHS is doing for them.
What about domestic abuse and a partner that may be abusive to you. Giving patients access to their records or denying access is not going to stop the abuse. The abuse is happening in this circumstance despite the practice giving patients access to their records - this does not increase the risk a patient is under. However we do recognise the potential risk to patients in this case. That's why we have a link on the main part of the practice website to inform patients who to contact. If you or anybody you know is in an abusive relationship and you need help then you can contact the practice immediately and speak to one of us confidentially. We will switch off the access immediately as well as advising you on what to do. If you are unable to do this or cannot wait then you can click on the link below which provides further information and where to turn for help.
Asian families who may be at risk can contact Saheli who have translators and can speak your language too!
We have now been offering patients access to their records and understanding for over 8 years. Yesterday 11 more patients got access to their records.
We would like to thank everybody for supporting us and the BBC for raising awareness of these important issues as we encourage others to follow in our footsteps and help deliver the next generation healthcare closer to home and meets your and your loved ones needs better.