Manchester

Harold Shipman successor backs online records plan

The doctor who took over serial killer Harold Shipman's former practice in Greather Manchester has backed plans to allow easier access to patient records.

Dr Amir Hannan said using an online system had helped rebuild trust at his Hyde surgery.

He said online access ensured "best quality care" for patients.

The NHS Future Forum has said people should be able to order prescriptions, book appointments and view their medical records online.

The body advises the government on health issues and has said it would like to see the proposals implemented in England by 2015.

'Lost trust'

Shipman was Britain's most prolific serial killer, having murdered 215 of his patients. He was given 15 life sentences for murder in 1999 but hanged himself in prison in 2004.

Dr Hannan said he "took over a practice where the patients had lost complete trust in the medical profession".

He implemented an online system allowing patients to access records and involved them more in his note-taking while he was practicing.

"What I learned was by allowing people to go online - put passwords into a secure system so that they can see what was being recorded about them - it's led them to regain that trust between ourselves and the patients," he said.

'Not accessible'

He said a national version of the system would be a good idea, though he did not think it should be compulsory.

Not all his patients had taken advantage of the online service in Hyde, which has been run at the surgery for five years, and Dr Hannan said while he offered the service, it was "for patients to decide if it is in the best interest for them to sign up for it".

He said security systems were in place around his surgery's service and the online offer allowed for a more flexible approach to patient interaction.

"The key is to deliver best quality care for our patients and while we needed to be secure, we don't need to be so secure that the systems shut down on a Friday night and are then not accessible by anybody."

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