(Caring Together badges: Collaboration, Innovation)

An Eastern Cheshire GP practice is celebrating a sharp rise in the number of patients consenting to allow all healthcare professionals involved in their care to view their Cheshire Care Record.

Meadowside Medical Centre, Congleton has reaped rewards by making the promotion of the Cheshire Care Record an everyday part of surgery life. In other words, every patient registering with the practice, making an appointment or attending a care plan review is asked to give permission for their medical information to be viewed be relevant professionals treating them– if consent hasn’t already been given.

Meadowside’s approach is good news for Caring Together as the care record is a key enabler of the joined-up services that the transformation programme is introducing.

Dr Ian Hulme, practice partner and IT lead at NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG, said improved levels were speeding up patient care.

“Because we now have consent from so many patients, we’re spending much less time calling them for permission when other providers request access to data such as summary medical history, information on allergies or details of social care packages in place.

“Providers such as A&E departments and district nurses can then access relevant information straightaway, rather than having to contact the GP practice or ask patients to keep repeating their story.”

Dr Hulme added that Meadowside saw its promotion of the Cheshire Care Record as a contribution to the efficient running of the wider care system.

“The care record isn’t critical to the effective operation of GP practices as our EMIS system already holds the patient data we need. However, we appreciate that the development of a joined-up, patient-centred system requires all providers to have the ability to share accurate, up-to-date information at a moment’s notice. That’s why we’ve prioritised promotion of the Cheshire Care Record.”

He said that very few of Meadowside’s 7,800 patients had opted out of the record and that most of them, when introduced to the system, expressed surprise that care providers had not been sharing patient data routinely for years.

He added that factors for high consent levels included patients feeling reassured that they could always opt out at a later date if they chose.