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Frequently asked questions

Find out more about our patient portal service

Our patient portal is designed to be easy to use and help put you in control of your healthcare. See below for some commonly asked questions about the service.

About the portal

What is the patient portal?

The patient portal is a secure online NHS system that allows you to look at information from your hospital record, manage hospital appointments and receive test results and messages from your hospital care team. It is available around the clock on a computer, tablet or smartphone.

Who is the patient portal for?

At present, the patient portal is available to West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust patients aged 16 and over. In time we want all our patients to have access to the portal. We also want to enable people’s authorised carers and the parents of younger patients to access the patient portal on their behalf.

How far back will the information go?

Information goes back to 12 February 2018 when the patient portal went live.

 

Registering for the portal

About the portal

You can register for the patient portal online or at your clinic appointment. We will ask you to choose a security question and answer. We will then send you an activation email with instructions on how to complete the registration process. As part of this process, you’ll set up your own username and password. Please keep these details safe.

What do I need to register for the patient portal?

To register you will need a working email address. At the point of registration you will be requested to provide proof of identification; the portal is a secure system so we will need you to provide a form of photo identification with you and proof of your address.

What if I share an email address with someone?

For your confidentiality, we recommend using a private email; there are several free email services available. We are only able to link one patient portal to one email address.

Can someone else register for the patient portal on my behalf?

No, because of legal requirements concerning confidentiality of health records. However, we know that many patients rely on people close to them to help them manage their healthcare. We are working to develop secure processes so that authorised representatives can manage an account on a patient’s behalf. We are also looking at ways for children to access information via the portal.

Can I register online without attending the hospital?

Yes, we have made it possible for you to enrol for the portal online. Alternatively if you have a virtual or phone clinic, you can let your care team know that you would like to register for the portal.

Why haven’t I received an email to complete my registration?

It may take up to five days to receive your email inviting you to complete your registration. Don’t forget to check your junk or spam folders in case it has been received there instead of your inbox.

 

Logging in to the portal

How do I access the patient portal?

Patients that have enrolled for the portal can access the login page by going to https://westsuffolk.healthelifeapp.co.uk/ on their PC or mobile device. The portal is available around the clock on a computer, tablet or smartphone.

I’ve forgotten my username/password or cannot log in

If you’ve forgotten your username, try logging in with the email address that you gave when you signed up for the patient portal. If you have forgotten your password, click on the ‘Forgot password?’ link and follow the instructions to reset your password. Make sure your ‘caps lock’ key is not on and that you do not enter extra spaces in either the email address/username or password boxes and try again. If you are still unable to access the portal, please call the support team on 0800 279 3178. Support is provided around the clock by Cerner, the company that built the portal. They cannot see your health information. The support team are based in Dublin and Kansas but calls are free.

How often should I log onto the Patient Portal?

That is entirely up to you. It is your record and so you can use it as little or as much as you find helpful to monitor and manage your health. Some people use the portal once every few weeks, whereas others may only use it when they have a recent or upcoming appointment.

 

Using the portal

I am not a doctor – how will I know what my results and information means?

The documents and test results have been produced by clinicians and used to communicate with your GP and/or other health professionals, so they do contain necessary medical terminology. If you do not understand any of the content, we recommend you discuss this at your next appointment. There is also a useful website that provides information in plain English on what various tests are for, and what the results indicate. This can be accessed here: https://labtestsonline.org.uk/

How can I change or cancel an appointment?

You can send a message to the appointments team through the portal to request to reschedule or cancel an appointment. Requests will be dealt with within five working days

You can send a message to the appointments team through the portal to request to reschedule or cancel an appointment. Requests will be dealt with within five working days

You can only respond to messages sent by your care team. Currently, the portal does not support the sending of any attachments (such as scans from other healthcare providers) in your reply, but we are working to enable this in the future.

What software is needed?

The patient portal can be accessed using the Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer and Firefox web browsers. If you have trouble viewing the portal, you might need to get an updated version of your web browser. A PDF reader is needed to view some documents within the portal. The portal can be viewed on a tablet or smartphone and is designed to adjust to the mobile device you are using. There is no app for the patient portal at this time.

What should I do if I spot information that is not correct?

If you believe the error relates to something important then please contact your care team. Our patient advice and liaison service (PALS) can help you to get this corrected. PALS can be contacted on 01284 712555 or email Pals@wsh.nhs.uk. If the error is not critical then please raise this next time you are visiting the hospital, so that your clinician can correct it when they see you.

Will information and letters still be posted to me?

Yes, for now. Once we have a larger number of people using the portal we will review the sending of paper letters unless you wish to continue receiving them. Paper letters take much longer to reach you than they do to appear on the portal. There is also a financial and environmental saving to stopping posting letters if you do not need them.

 

Updating my details

If I update my personal information on the portal, will it update my hospital record?

No, alterations made to your personal information will not be pulled through to your hospital record. If your details have changed, please contact your GP practice and the hospital

What should I do if I change my email address?

Your email address is stored in two places in the portal. Firstly as the email address for managing the account and secondly as the email address to receive notifications when new information is added. You should change it in both these places: 1. Click the settings icon on the home page and select notifications. On the notifications screen, enter your updated email in the email address field and save. 2. Click the settings icon on the home page and select account. On the account screen, click the update account settings link, then click the email link and follow the instructions to update your email address.

Can I delete my patient portal account?

Yes, you can request to delete your account at any time by emailing: patientportal@wsh.nhs.uk

 

Security and access

How can I be sure my information is safe on the Patient Portal?

We are using security systems similar those used in internet banking, so as long as you keep your log in details secure, the information is safe. Make sure you log out properly every time you leave the portal and be careful with your log in information. For further information on Cerner’s commitment to keeping your information secure please see https://www.cerner.com/gb/en/solutions/your-information-security

Will the hospital use my email address for anything else?

We take the security of your personal information very seriously and there are strict rules about how we use your data; we will register your email address on our main hospital system (e-Care) to contact you regarding your patient portal account. This contact information will be used to communicate with you regarding your health. By providing your email address, you are giving us permission to interact with you for other health related reasons not solely limited to correspondence from the HealtheLife by Cerner patient portal.

Will I be able to see my GP records through the site?

At this stage you can only see information contained within the hospital record. Your GP record is on a different system and therefore not included in the patient portal currently. A single patient record is something that we are exploring with other organisations, however this is some time off from being developed.

Will my clinician or GP be able to see what information is included?

The portal is your record. Clinicians will not be able to directly see what is included within the portal but as clinicians involved in your care in the hospital and at your GP surgery, they will of course be able to see the same information within your hospital record.

 

Still have questions?

If you still have any questions, for help using the portal please call the Cerner support team. They cannot see your health information but can help with using the system. The support team are based in Dublin and Kansas but calls are free: 0800 279 3178.

For other questions, please email the team at patientportal@wsh.nhs.uk or speak to your care team.