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Supporting frontline health and care staff in South East London

To help us mark our 5th anniversary we are delighted to hear from Angela Poland, Head of Digital Programmes at South East London Integrated Care System (SEL ICS). Angela has been a key partner since the creation of OneLondon (17 May 2023).

Introduction

I have been working on SEL’s digital programme for three years. Prior to that I worked on the Local Care Record programme and the NIHR Health Informatics Collaborative programme.

It is really great we are marking OneLondon’s 5th anniversary. Together as a partnership we really have achieved a lot supporting health and care staff and improving outcomes for Londoners – including during some difficult and challenging times.

Angela Poland

The early days

When OneLondon was created in 2018 here in South East London we already had a strong digital programme, including Connect Care that was a system for sharing information with frontline staff locally.

This was already making a positive impact but we could see the potential for joining this up at a London-wide level.

A lot of hard work took place involving so many people. I am proud of the role the SEL team played, using their extensive experience and skills to support this important programme. And I am also really grateful to all our SEL health and care partners. Without their support this programme would have been a lot more challenging and progress would have been a lot slower.

In April 2020 the London Care Record was launched providing a single and secure view of patient information across London. In South East London we started with a handful of settings being connected including GPs, an acute hospital and a mental health trust. But the impact was significant from the start – with SEL views doubling from 78,000 to over 140,000 per month over 2020.

When Covid-19 started to make an impact the London Care Record really came into its own in South East London.

  • It enabled hundreds of social care staff to work remotely, maintaining social distancing, minimising patient contact.
  • Hospital social care workers could remotely access GP and inpatient notes to inform safe and effective discharge.
  • It helped NHS 111 staff save crucial time and prioritise resources like ambulances to where they were needed most.

Where we are today

Three years on we now have our three acute hospitals and all GP surgeries sharing information across London and most of our other Trusts, mental health and community providers, 111 or out of ours services and local authorities connected and sharing information locally.

In total each month there are around 360,000 views of patient information via the London Care Record in SEL by around 17,000 staff. Each one of these is helping frontline staff provide the best possible care.

There are so many examples of how this has made a difference but one story really struck a chord with me. Alfie is a young boy with kidney failure and the Paediatric Consultant that treated him said that having access to the London Care Record essentially helped save his life.

You can read more about Alfie’s story here along with other examples of how the London Care Record is making a difference.

Lessons learned

The pandemic demonstrated that technology projects can be delivered and adopted at a pace and scale that was previously unthinkable. I am proud that South East London ICS was at the forefront of this with the London Care Record.

I am also proud that early on our ICS appreciated the potential benefits of taking a London-wide approach. For example around half of those treated by Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust live outside of South East London. So it made complete sense to take a pan-London approach to sharing information.

Next steps

We are working with South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) to enable them to share patient’s clinical information through the London Care Record across London. SLaM will be the first Mental Health Trust in the Capital to do this marking a major milestone in the development of the London Care Record. This is really important given the number of people SLaM cares for across London and the range of specialist services they provide.  

We have a great relationship with our local authorities and we are working closely with them on plans to build on how their staff currently use the London Care Record in their work. There are already so many examples of how this is helping to ensure people receive the best care more quickly. There is a lot of potential to develop this further in a range of areas such as safeguarding.

As you would expect lots of people move between our area and neighbouring areas in South East England so we are also keen to see how we might join up with them as has already happened with areas to the north of London.

With ambitious plans to further develop the London Care Record and the innovative work taking place with the London Health Data Strategy programme these are exciting times for OneLondon and its partners. We have already achieved so much together for the benefit of Londoners and there is real potential to go so much further over the years ahead. Everyone at SEL ICS is excited to be part of this journey and keen to continue to play a leading role.

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