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First city adopts new system for sharing GP patient records across services



GP patient information can now be accessed by clinicians across the healthcare system in Leeds, after the city became the first to adopt GP Connect.

The NHS Digital programme, which allows GP practices and clinical staff to share and view authorised information and data between IT systems, went live across the city at the end of September.

This means that patient medical information is now available across care settings, including social care, general practice, community, mental health and hospitals.

The integrated system was delivered by NHS Digital and EMIS Health, working closely with the Leeds Teaching Hospitals.

Currently, GP Connect makes medical information held within the patient’s GP record available at the point of care across care settings.

However, in future it is thought it could also enable quicker and more efficient appointment management between services.

Chief clinical information office at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Dr Geoff Hall outlined a situation where GP Connect had made a real impact.

He explained that he had recently seen a patient diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer by his GP, but no one at the hospital had met him and the records only held results of blood tests and scans, so no information on consultations.

As such, the staff had no idea whether the patient knew of his diagnosis or if his family were aware.

Dr Hall said: ‘The new GP Connect has just had a major triumph. His GP was able to share an understanding of his discussion with our patient. I knew exactly what was going on, what he and his family knew and what he had told his GP he wanted.’

He added: ‘This is a scenario where having the access to vital information has resulted in better patient care by helping to avoid repeating a potentially emotional and stressful conversation.’

Leeds CCG chief clinical information officer Dr Alistair Walling said: ‘We have embraced GP Connect in Leeds because it helps to deliver truly patient-centred care.

‘Using the technology to provide timely information to care professionals when supporting patients’ care whether at home, in the community or hospital helps provide safer and better care.’

Earlier this year, NHS England said it was looking at offering patients online access to GP records from a certain date onwards to avoid ‘an information breach’ in releasing historical notes, as part of talks to realise a Government commitment.