STALYBRIDGE and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds has visited a pioneering doctors' surgery, as part of a scheme set up to help politicians learn more about general practice.
Dr Amir Hannan and his team at the Thornley House Medical Centre provide a full range of medical services for residents in Hyde.
But they are also using online technology to make sure their patients are receiving the very best access to services - even when the surgery in closed.
That means that patients can routinely use the surgery's website (www.htmc.co.uk) to book or review appointments, to order repeat prescriptions and to access health records.
The website also has more general information, medical news and health resources, including a 'map of medicine' which is usually only available to health professionals.
Mr Reynolds believes the ground-breaking approach will help to build stronger relationships between GPs and their patients and enable patients to take greater control of their health.
Now he intends to write to Tameside and Glossop Primary Care Trust to see if there are plans for other GPs in the area to adopt a similar approach.
"Patients increasingly want to understand more about their health and any conditions they have," said Mr Reynolds. "But it can be difficult to take in all the information that we are given while in the doctor's surgery.
"I was very interested by the way Dr Hannan and his team at Thornley House Medical Centre are using the internet to keep their patients informed.
"The practice's website enables patients to access their records from the comfort of their homes - or from a different part of the world if they are taken ill overseas.
"It also allows them to 'pick up' routine test results as soon as they are ready, rather than having to wait for an appointment. "And when they do need to make an appointment or book a repeat prescription they can do so online, offering far greater flexibility.
"These measures give patients the information and the access they need to take greater control of their own health, which can only be beneficial. But it also brings greater transparency, which will build greater trust between doctor and patient.
"In this digital age, I am surprised that more doctors aren't making use of this facility. I now intend to write to the Tameside and Glossop Primary Care Trust to highlight the work being undertaken at Thornley House and to ask whether it is an approach likely to be adoted by other GPs in the area."
Mr Reynolds was told about the surgery's ground-breaking use of the internet during a visit to Thornley House. The visit was set up as part of a scheme run by the BMA, which aims to help MPs learn more about general practice.
Published October 19, 2010