●● WITH Dr Paul Bowen, a GP with McIlvride Medical Practice, Poynton, and executive chair of NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) IMAGINE having to book an appointment with your bank manager to find out how much money is in your account.
After phoning to arrange an appointment, you attend your local branch at a time given to you (no – you can’t go to any branch, just your local one), you wait half an hour to be called in.
Then, when you finally get your precious 10 minutes, your bank manager explains that, because your credit card is managed by the branch down the road, he’ll need to refer you to the other bank to find out what the total balance is.
It sounds ridiculous, but it’s a system that has been working in the NHS for decades – just replace bank manager with GP and you’ll understand my gist.
Practices are just as keen to change this as patients are.
Empowering patients with information and allowing them to hold and understand their health data is as important as any current account.
More and more patients are managing their own blood pressure, their medications and, through improved technology, can access their blood results and data.
By the end of the year, most local practices will be able to share records with their patients, securely and confidentially.
The paternal nature of the GP-patient relationship will become a partnership.
Knowledge is power – and armed with your latest cholesterol result, and blood pressure, you can calculate your risk of developing conditions like heart disease and stroke.
Health checks at your local practice for 40 to 75-year-olds can arm you with the information you need to understand this risk.
Speak to your practice to arrange a check-up.