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Individuals to benefit from more effective, joined-up care in north east Essex and Suffolk

People in north east Essex and Suffolk will soon be able to benefit from even more effective, joined-up health and care services.

Health and care organisations across Suffolk and north east Essex are signing up to a shared framework, called My Care Record, which will make it easier to deliver more effective joined-up care from January 2020.

Many people assume that patient records are automatically accessible between organisations such as GP practices and hospitals. However this is often not the case. Over time, the NHS has been investing in secure systems that allows information to be viewed between organisations for care. 

Where supporting technology is in place, the agreement will enable health and care professionals who are directly involved in an individual’s care to access the information they need from their care records even if they work for a different organisation or in a different location. For example, a doctor treating an individual in hospital or a nurse working in the community could view the information they need from a patient’s GP record.

Benefits of joining up information between health and care providers include better co-ordinated care and quicker diagnosis and treatment. There will also be less need for patients to repeat their story to different professionals. This answers public feedback to health and care organisations over recent years about the importance of joined-up care. In some areas, anonymous information from care records may also be used to help to plan and design how to deliver better services for individuals and the local population as a whole. 

My Care Record will also support the best use of clinical time, with less duplication of paperwork, allowing more time for direct patient contact. With this joined up approach, clinicians will be able to ensure that prescriptions are up to date across all health and care organisations and that fewer unnecessary clinical tests are carried out. 

People who do not wish for their information to be shared can contact their health and care professional working with them who holds their record. 

Dr Hasan Chowhan, Chair of North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We know that when information is made available between services, we can better meet individual’s health and wellbeing needs. 

“Over time it will mean that individuals will not have to repeat their story many times. The right professional at the right time will be able to have access to information such as test results and medication, to help make the best decisions about care. My Care Record is a big step forward for integrated patient care across our region.”

Dr John Oates, a GP in Saxmundham and member of the clinical executive of NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It may come as a surprise to many people that health professionals from different parts of the NHS cannot always view a patient’s full health record as part of their ongoing treatment.  The introduction of My Care Record is an important step forward in addressing the inconvenience this causes to patients and staff and reducing delays in care.”

Councillor John Spence CBE, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care at Essex County Council said: "What all of us want is that we tell our story once and that it is then available to all those who really need to know. My Care Record puts the resident first; it will be better for them but also help create a more efficient system."

More information about My Care Record is available at http://www.mycarerecord.org.uk/

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