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Doctors and nurses will be able to reduce unnecessary patient tests and improve safety through better working between hospitals and GPs and social care.
New partnerships will be introduced giving health and care staff better and faster access to vital information about the person in their care, so they can determine the right action as quickly as possible, whether that is urgent tests or a referral to a specialist.
At the moment, in many local areas GPs and other care professionals are often not able to access crucial patient information quickly if it is held in another part of the health service sometimes having to rely on post or fax instead.
Dr Simon Eccles, chief clinical information officer for Health and Care, said: “Sharing information for people’s individual care can be lifesaving by quickly providing staff with the details they need, from patient histories to previous test results and care plans.
“The public already assume their GP Practice and hospital can see their records, now in the NHS’s 70th year through Local Health and Care Records we will start to make this possible.”
In recent years a number of small scale projects, created by local organisations, have done this successfully. In many cases this is supporting integrated health and social care teams who are working together.
- In Rotherham patients are leaving hospital faster. Community nurses know when their patients have been admitted to hospital so they can start conversations earlier about what needs to happen so patients can be ready to go home.
- In Dorset care for elderly patients is a smoother and less stressful experience. A 96-year-old with a number of long term medical conditions is reassured that if they are taken ill, or fall over the emergency services will already understand their conditions and not need them to repeat the information.
- In Leeds GPs benefit from a window into the hospital. They can see when their patients have appointments, which patients are in hospital and view letters and results that may not yet have arrived at the practice.
Today NHS England has announced that three areas, covering 14 million people, have been chosen to become ‘Local Health and Care Record Exemplars’ (LHCRE).
Will Smart, chief information officer for Health and Care, said: “Through Local Health and Care Record Exemplars we are raising the bar for how the NHS can improve care through technology.
“By sharing information across a larger population, we can ensure that as people move across the different parts of the NHS and social care they don’t have to repeat themselves and provide the same information time and again.
“We were very impressed by the standard of bids we received and the ambition across the country, in the coming weeks we will be talking to those remaining areas to understand which two are ready to join the initial group this year.”
Each new partnership will receive up to £7.5 million over two years to put in place an electronic shared local health and care record that makes the relevant information about people instantly available to everyone involved in their care and support.
The selected areas are:
- Greater Manchester
- One London
NHS England will work with the other sites that bid to join the programme over the next few weeks to understand more about their plans and how we can work with them to help realise their ambitions.
Each Local Health and Care Record Exemplar will work on a larger scale than existing local projects, providing healthcare staff who need it access to the information they need for people’s individual care.
Each Local Health and Care Record Exemplar is made up of either one or multiple Sustainability Transformation Partnerships (STPs).
The new partnerships will also work to better understand demand for local services and to plan effectively for future demand.
Health Minister Lord O’Shaughnessy said: “Patients rightly expect that, wherever they’re being treated in the NHS, doctors and nurses will have access to all the vital information they need.
“Building on successful projects across England, this new programme will make that a reality for millions of patients – with the potential to improve care and save lives.”
On 25 May, new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will come into force in the UK, giving the public more control over how their personal information is used.
The Government will also introduce a new national data opt-out on 25 May, which will offer people a choice on how their confidential patient information is used for research and planning.
The NHS has a long history of scientific breakthroughs and providing patient’s with access to leading research trials and the latest treatments.
In the future the NHS and Government will seek to establish Digital Innovation Hubs to provide a safe, controlled and secure environment for research that can bring patients benefits from scientific breakthroughs much faster.