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Meet Team OneLondon – Dr Agatha Nortley-Meshe

“The London Care Record is critical to making good decisions for the benefit of patients.”

These are the words of Dr Agatha Nortley-Meshe, South London GP and NHS England (London) Regional Medical Director for Primary Care. In our latest Meet Team OneLondon feature we are delighted to introduce Agatha who is one of over 100,000 health and care staff wo use the London Care Record each month. Agatha is a fantastic ambassador for the London Care Record and talks about its vital role in helping make informed decisions in General Practice and Urgent Care Services (22 May 2024).  

What’s your clinical background?

Dr Agatha Nortley-Meshe

I have been a GP in South London for around 14 years which has included working in Out of Hours GP services. I have also worked for London Ambulance Service as Assistant Medical Director and then Medical Director for Urgent Care where I was involved in the design and implementation of 111 services. I have been NHS England (London) Regional Director for Primary Care for just over a year.  I have used the London Care Record in all of my frontline clinical roles.

How does the London Care Record support GPs?

In a nutshell as a GP the London Care Record gives me the information at hand to do what I need to do. This helps me to understand the full picture about a patient so I can make informed decisions about a patient’s care.

What is particularly great about the London Care Record is that it gives me access to information I wouldn’t otherwise have.  For example, I can see  ambulance records that you can’t get elsewhere. They contain important information that can be critical to a person’s story. It enables me to see if a patient was in A&E the night before, which is something I otherwise wouldn’t know. It also helps me to find out for example if their oxygen levels were down a bit last night or if their condition has worsened.  I can also see their discharge summary and any future appointments that they might have.

This all informs the decisions I take and provides continuity of care. We don’t work in isolation and this  helps stop people falling through the gaps. No one wants to see patients bounce around the system so it helps to prevent this. Your management of the patient might change if you can see what has happened before and what else is going on.

The London Care Record can also help give patients more confidence. Patients expect this information to be available to me as their GP. Sometimes people think that they might have been forgotten. Just by being able to say ‘I can see you saw the consultant at the hospital yesterday’ can help reassure them.

The London Care Record can also save valuable time chasing up information from other care providers as it is all there just at a click of a button.

What about Urgent and Emergency Care?

With 111 and Out of Hours GP services people are often in distress so you need as much information as you can get and you need it quickly. Also patients can have a lot of different touchpoints with health and care services so in an urgent or emergency care situation you need to see the chain and what other clinicians have done and why.

The London Care Record is essential with all of this. By being able to see information like discharge summaries, test results and clinic letters it helps you understand the bigger picture and what’s ‘normal’ for the patient. As a clinician this supports you to make safe decisions for your patients and means you can actually provide care in these situations rather than just make a referral. It might also save an unnecessary trip to A&E, which helps relieve pressure on busy A&E departments, but crucially is a better and more appropriate outcome for the patient.

Any advice to health and care staff who haven’t used the London Care Record?

You can tap into the London Care Record whenever you need to and it is really easy to use. It is really critical to making good decisions for the benefit of patients.

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