DR Amir Hannan, who had the unenviable challenge of taking over the Hyde practice of mass murderer Harold Shipman, has been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours.
It is reward for the efforts of the 49-year-old’s efforts in not only transforming the practice with pioneering work but also his involvement with other health bodies.
Dr Hannan’s ground-breaking work at the Haughton Thornley Medical Centres, which has received national recognition, has involved patients being able to access services and their medical records online.
It is far removed to 2000 when Dr Hannan, fresh from completing his training in 2000, arrived in the eye of a storm in Hyde.
Dr Hannan, who described it as “nice to be recognised”, recalled the challenge with which he was confronted: “It was incredibly stressful, and the patients were unhappy to have another doctor hoisted on them.
“They were comfortable with the stand-in locum and there was a sit-down protest in the surgery the week before I started.
“Can you imagine elderly people sat cross-legged on the floor, a sign of their anger and upset?
“BBC Breakfast News came live from the waiting room and it gave me an inclination of what to expect as I was walking into a war zone.
“It was frightening to walk in and be told by patients that they did not trust me. I realised if I was to be an effective doctor, I would have to rebuild trust.”
Dr Hannan explained Shipman, who murdered an estimated 300 patients, changed patients’ notes to cover his tracks.
He identified sharing notes, whereby patients could go online to see what doctors and nurses had written, as being key to rebuilding trust.
The introduction was a huge success in building bridges with Dr Hannan adding patients feel “empowered” to be able to read their notes.
Dr Hannan, who lives in Hale Barns, continued: “If a doctor has made a mistake, they are able to get in touch.
“And it may be beneficial for the patient to read what the doctor has written, particularly those suffering from diabetes, depression and anxiety.
“It can also save time when they are able to go online and see results of tests.”
Dr Hannan added patients have embraced the opportunity to access records with 10,000 out of 13,000 – that represents 76 per cent – having signed up for the App.
He pointed out 77 per cent of diabetic patients have access to their records and that rises to 94 per cent for type A, 63 per cent of people with learning difficulties, 87 per cent of the Bengali community and every pregnant woman.
Dr Hannan added the Covid-19 crisis has been especially prevalent in the practice with 466 cases of coronavirus confirmed with possibly as many as 40 deaths.
“People are frightened, and GPs have a crucial role in helping reassure and educate the community. I have had the vaccine and we will be giving it out,” he continued.
Dr Hannan also encourages patients to be pro-active in their owe health and wellbeing, explaining it is important they take responsibility as statistics show the health of Tameside residents is among the worst in the country.
Dr Hannan remains a full-time GP at the same Hyde practice which has now expanded to two sites and is known as the Haughton Thornley Medical Centres.
The practice is in the top five per cent of those rated as outstanding by the Care Quality Commission and its patient participation group was voted as the best in the UK in 2016.
Dr Hannan added the transformation could not have been achieved without the help of others, especially Ingrid Brindle, chair of the patient participation group (PPG).
“To be voted the best PPG in the UK was amazing and they helped us to become an outstanding practice. They are the voice of our patients,” he said.
He also thanked Dr Richard Fitton, now retired, for the support he offered when he arrived in Hyde and Glenn Griffiths for helping to deliver the IT infrastructure to enable patients to access their records.
Dr Hannan described the practice staff as being “amazing” and his wife Shahla as an “unsung hero”.
Apart from his hands-on role in the practice – he does nine sessions each week – Dr Hannan is chairman of the West Pennine Medical Committee, chair of the Association of Greater Manchester Local Medical Committees, co-chair of the Greater Manchester NHS Values Group and the chairman of the World Health Innovation Summit.
The Values Group, he explained, has a strong desire for the NHS to meet the needs and improve the care for all, including the homeless, those with addictions, mental health issues, refugees and Roman communities.
And the Summit group partners the United Nations’ Sustainable Cities programme for the future,
Dr Hannan was born in Sheffield and education in Yorkshire before moving to Manchester University for medical training.
Father to two sons, Dr Hannan set up the South Manchester Muslim Walking Group to encourage them to exercise. He is also a keen photographer and loves travel.