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Log on for a healthier life

All West Suffolk Hospital patients aged over 16 can now access and manage their hospital care online.

We initially launched a pilot of our Patient Portal just for Rheumatology patients, but have gradually extended it to more patients.

Now it is available to any patient aged over 16 that has been a patient at the Bury St Edmunds hospital or used outpatient services at one of our community sites.

People can now also sign up online without having to visit the hospital to show identity documents, after we 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.

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.

People taking part in the trial have praised the service, saying it saves them time and worry.

Patient and portal user Julia Clark said: “The Patient Portal makes everything less stressful: no more waiting in telephone queues for test results.

“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.”

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.”

Julia's story

 Julia, 67, lives in Sudbury and has three grown up children and a young grandchild.

“The Patient Portal helps me look after my and my family’s health. Fifty years ago doctors only used to share the minimum with patients, but we are no longer passive recipients of treatment.

“Back then I had some tests done but never found out the results or diagnosis. If I had been able to see the results of those quite simple tests, as I would today at our hospital through the Patient Portal, I would have known I needed to take better care of certain aspects of my health a lot earlier and I would possibly not have gone on to develop a chronic illness.

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

“If I don’t understand anything I can make an appointment to speak to a doctor at my surgery, but you quickly get to understand what is normal for you.

“With a lot of diabetes and high cholesterol in my family, this is invaluable for me and empowers me to look after myself.”

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Patient Portal user Julia Clark, from Sudbury

Patient Portal user Julia Clark, from Sudbury