Local health and care partnerships covering 23.5 million could save lives

Doctors and nurses in Yorkshire and Humber and Thames Valley will be able to reduce unnecessary patient tests and improve safety through better working between hospitals, GPs and social care.

Last month NHS England announced three areas, covering 14 million people, had been chosen to become ‘Local Health and Care Record Exemplars’ (LHCRE). New partnerships that will each 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.

Today NHS England has announced two more areas:

  • Yorkshire and the Humber, covering West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and Humberside
  • Thames Valley and Surrey, covering Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Surrey

Together with the previously announced sites, Greater Manchester, Wessex and One London, this means over 40% of the population of England will be covered by a shared local health and care record.

Matthew Swindells, National Director of Operations and Information at NHS England, said: “In the NHS’s 70th year, the local health and care record programme will take the NHS to a world leading position in using information technology to join up services, reduce errors, speed the adoption of new innovations, and give patients control over their own care. The Exemplars will be our trail blazers for that transformation.”

Dr Simon Eccles, Chief Clinical Information Officer for Health and Care, said: “These new local systems will ensure appropriate staff can access information from patient histories to previous test results and care plans that will not only improve the individual care we are able to offer but in some instances could save lives.”

The five partnerships will give 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.

Will Smart, Chief Information Officer for Health and Care, said: “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.”

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.

To promote collaboration and sharing of learnings across localities, those areas that are ready to progress but have not been selected at this stage will be invited to join the programme so they can work on common designs and approaches.

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.

In May the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) came into force in the UK, giving the public more control over how their personal information is used and the Government introduced a new national data opt-out, offering 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.