West Suffolk Hospital encourages patients to go online to access care

Patients like Julia Clark have been trialling the new digital portal scheme at West Suffolk Hospital

Patients like Julia Clark have been trialling the new digital portal scheme at West Suffolk Hospital Picture: WEST SUFFOLK NHS FOUNDATION TRUST/SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

It could be the end of the line for hospital appointment letters, as one Suffolk trust encourages patients to go digital.

Thousands of people across West Suffolk will now be able to access and manage their hospital care online thanks to a new service.

The Patient Portal was initially piloted with rheumatology patients but is now open to all patients over 16 who have either used West Suffolk Hospital or the trust’s outpatient services.

People can now also sign up online without having to visit the hospital to show identity documents, after the Trust added new digital identity checks.

The Trust has also this week launched a new text message system for appointments, giving patients the chance to skip the wait for letters through the post.

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The new services allow patients to see test results and manage appointments wherever they are, and without having to wait for letters in the post or phoning their doctor’s surgery.

Patients can check letters from outpatient clinics and their hospital records online, allowing them to make sure things like allergies are accurately recorded.

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The Trust said that there had already been positive feedback from those taking part in the initial pilot scheme.

One of those was 67-year-old Julia Clark from Sudbury.

“The Patient Portal makes everything less stressful: no more waiting in telephone queues for test results,” said Ms Clark.

“When you see your doctor after a hospital consultation they can go straight to helping you make the best choice for you, or explaining any options you don’t understand.

“Seeing the results of blood tests within hours on the Patient Portal is wonderful, and seeing clinic letters saves me weeks of worry waiting for a copy to arrive by snail mail. It’s the same with hospital appointments.”

Trust project manager Sara Clark said: “We are encouraging everyone to sign up for the portal.

“It only takes a few minutes and really helps put you in control of your own health records.

“We will be adding new features, like health questionnaires and a mobile app, in coming months and we want as many people as possible to benefit from them.”

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