Cambridge is a major IT centre, with many people making their living from the web and other modern technologies.
The local hospital trust, Addenbrooke's, has its own website (www. addenbrookes.
org. uk) which provides a range of information about its main hospital.Two smaller hospitals in the city, however, do not seem to have a web presence.
The local primary care trust, Cambridge City PCT, has a holding page (www. cambcity-pct. nhs. uk) - and even that is not always available.However, the county site (www. cambridgeshire. nhs. uk) provides some advice on functions such as mental health services.
When it comes to smaller parts of the health service, things get even worse.The www. nhs. uk index gives contact details, maps and opening hours for GP practices and indicates whether dental practices accept NHS patients.
However, it does not give e-mail addresses or links to any GP practice, optician or pharmacy in Cambridge.This is somewhat misleading, since chains such as Boots and Specsavers have national websites.
In addition, feeding the names of Cambridge GP practices into a general search engine shows that at least four of 16 checked do, in fact, have websites.All of these provide information only, roughly equivalent to a practice brochure.Other surgeries have pages on websites such as www. gpinfo. com, though these rarely contain much more than contact details.
Overall, Cambridge residents will have to spend a considerable amount of time hunting down their local NHS on the web.And if they bother, they still will not be able to interact with it.