Social care workers in North Yorkshire are in the vanguard of a pioneering partnership between health organisations and local authorities to join up support for people needing care.
The Yorkshire and Humber Care Record gives authorised social care workers easier access to information that helps them to understand all the requirements of the people they support.
We have been at the forefront of developing the system, alongside partners in the Humber, Coast & Vale Health and Care Partnership, after the Yorkshire and Humber region won £7.5m in NHS funding to develop local care and health record initiatives.
North Yorkshire is the first authority in the region to go live with the system, followed by Hull City Council and East Riding of Yorkshire. All North Yorkshire GP practices have joined the programme to enable access to relevant medical information about people already being supported by the adult social care service.
Robert Ling, Assistant Director Technology and Change Management, said: “North Yorkshire was an early adopter of this programme. It has been built by organisations in the Yorkshire and Humber region to meet our needs and we have been at the forefront of its design and development. It is an excellent example of co-operation between partners.”
Before the launch of the Yorkshire and Humber Care Record online portal, a social care worker who needed medical information about a person they were supporting would need to call that person’s GP practice and wait to speak to someone who could provide the information. This delayed action by the care worker and took up the time of GP practice staff.
The Care Record allows such information to be accessed directly through a secure portal online. Relevant information might include details of medication or recent GP appointments. This helps front-line staff to make decisions based on a holistic view of the person’s health.
Cllr Greg White, Executive Member for Digital, said: “Being able to access GP data quickly without having to go through the GP practice relieves pressure on the system, improves the pace at which professionals can make important care decisions, improves the quality of those decisions, and, therefore, improves the care people receive.
“Such a service is more important than ever at a time when the care sector faces huge pressures and the challenge of recruiting additional staff.”
In time, the portal will expand to allow access to relevant hospital and social care records.
Cllr Michael Harrison, Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health Integration, said: “If someone who is receiving care has a significant health issue, accessing the appropriate medical information provides a much richer picture of their health, which social care workers will find really helpful. It enables care workers to make more effective use their time, freeing them to get on with the parts of their job that really benefit the people they support.
“In addition, a regular frustration for people receiving care is that they have to keep telling the same story to different people that care for them. Now, the social care worker will have easy access to much of the information that person may already have discussed with their GP. So the social care worker doesn’t have to ask the same questions, and people don’t have to repeat themselves to different health or care workers.”
County Council Care and Support Team Manager Selina Hart has seen first-hand a range of benefits from the new system, including reducing time to collate and collect information, avoiding duplication and updating records.
“The programme provides the right information to the right person at the right time,” she says. “As a result, it safely and securely connects services we deliver and benefits the people at the heart of the care. It is also good for the morale of staff.
“This is the right way forward. It will enhance the working relationship between services and enable faster care provision.”
Lee Rickles, Programme Director at Yorkshire and Humber Care Record, added: “If we want to provide integrated care to our populations, we need to connect and share information with social care colleagues. It helps this vital service to do its job of protecting and promoting people’s wellbeing so that they can enjoy a better quality of life. These recent connections take our programme onto a new stage of ensuring we integrate care.”