Joining up patient care in Southwark and Lambeth

Clinicians looking at computer together

NHS organisations in Southwark and Lambeth have joined forces to improve patient care by sharing electronic patient records through a new secure system. The Local Care Record allows GPs, hospital and community healthcare staff to see important information about a patient at the touch of a button before making any decisions about their treatment.

Patient records are already shared between local NHS organisations via traditional methods such as secure post, fax or email, but these can sometimes be slow. Now healthcare professionals at Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts and local GP practices can view each other’s patient records quickly and securely.

Patient care will be improved because clinicians will be able to see information such as test results, medication and previous treatments to help them make any physical and mental health treatment decisions.

The Local Care Record is the first patient information sharing system in the UK to receive an official accreditation from EMIS Health, a medical information system supplier. This means it can be accessed through existing patient IT systems and is not a new or separate database.

It is hoped that the new system will help reduce the number of repeat GP and hospital appointments, duplicate tests for patients and out-of-date administrative processes such as faxing. It will not only improve patients’ experience of their care but also save NHS time and money.

The Local Care Record was initially piloted at the Hetherington Group Practice in Clapham.

Dr Adrian McLachlan, Chair of Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group and GP Partner at the Hetherington Group Practice, said: “The Local Care Record is something my GP colleagues and I have been really excited about and it is already adding clinical value. We’ve already started to use it in our practice and it is helping us improve safety and the quality of care we provide to our local patients in Lambeth and Southwark, as we have a clearer picture of the people we are caring for and their different health needs.”

Dr Saadi Doha, GP at Lordship Lane Surgery, said: "The Local Care Record is really easy to use and allows staff to quickly see all the patient’s letters and test results when needed. Previously we would have had to wait for test results and X-rays or chase up information, which was frustrating for us and our patients. The Local Care Record will definitely help us improve care for local people."

Speaking on behalf of the three hospital organisations Cormac Breen, Chief Clinical Information Officer at Guy's and St Thomas', said: “This is a major step forward in how the local NHS shares information to improve care for local people. We will be able to make decisions based on a fuller and more up-to-date understanding of all the physical and mental healthcare needs of our patients, wherever they are. It will not only improve patient safety but also improve people’s experience of using the NHS by removing unnecessary duplication.”

The Local Care Record has been developed with input from local patient groups. It is a view-only clinical information portal and is only for the purposes of direct provision of care or treatment to a patient. Therefore patient records remain within GP practice and hospital secure systems, so no external or private organisations can view the information.

Rosemary Glanville, Southwark and Lambeth Citizens Board member, said: “Many people think that the hospital and GPs are able to see each other’s information already – but this hasn’t been possible before. So this is a welcome step towards safer, better and more joined-up care, which has been designed with local people for local patients.”

The Local Care Record has been developed as part of the Southwark and Lambeth Integrated Care partnership. It is being rolled out across GP practices in Southwark and Lambeth over the next few months. For further information, including updates on where it has gone live, please visit www.kingshealthpartners.org/localcarerecord.