HEALTH minister Rosie Winterton visited the Undercliffe Surgery on Healey Lane, Batley.

She met Barry Seal, chairman of the North Kirklees Primary Care Trust, and was introduced to Dr Jim Lee and Dr Paul Glover.

The GPs showed the minister a new primary care computer system, which allows patients' records to be created and stored electronically.

The practice is the first in the country to use the system as part of the NHS National Programme for IT.

The minister also met four "expert patients" who are now managing their own chronic illnesses - thanks to a free six-week course run by the trust.

The Expert Patient Programme covers issues such as managing symptoms and ways of improving how a person feels, relaxation, healthy eating and nutrition, exercise, dealing with anger, fear, isolation, fatigue and depression and working with health care professionals.

Mr Seal said the project gave patients the skills and confidence to be able to take control of their own health.

"Less people are going to see their GP or visiting hospital as a result of this innovative programme," he added.

Batley and Spen MP Mike Wood said: "Health services in this constituency are benefiting from unprecedented levels of investment.

"The IT system and expert patient group that Rosie Winterton has seen today are two examples of the investment and innovation we can be proud of locally."