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Leeds trust shares mental health records



Addition to Leeds Care Record provides health and social care staff with access to patient data

A mental health trust claims to have become the first in England to make aspects of its patients' records available electronically to other health and social care organisations.

Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LYPFT) has provided the data for use in the Leeds Care Record, a system that has been implemented across the city over the past year to bring together up-to-date information from more than 300 computer systems of different care providers.

It has been developed by the trust in a partnership with Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust, Leeds Community Healthcare, three clinical commissioning groups and the city council.

A spokesperson for LYPFT said the record is currently a read-only system on which information can only be changed at source by staff authorised to do so.

“We are working towards every care professional accessing through their own organisational system, and in the meantime they log in via a dedicated website,” the spokesperson said.

Implied consent

A care professional can upload the information without the patient's explicit consent as, if they have a legitimate relationship, the consent is implied. If a patient does not wish to be included they can opt out.

The authorities involved make patients aware of the process through an engagement programme that includes the use of a dedicated website, leaflets, posters and Twitter.

Only the staff directly involved in a person's care have access to their record, and it is only shared if all the parties agree it is useful in providing better care for a patient. This provides the rationale for including information such as medications and test results.

“The system keeps a record of everyone who has accessed a patient record, the time and date when they accessed it and the information they were viewing,” the spokesperson said.

“The laws on data protection are clear and we take them very seriously. We regularly check to make sure that only people who need to see a patient record are viewing it.”

There are plans to make it available to more people in Leeds and the long term goal is to create a fully integrated care record.

Dr Nick Venters (pictured), consultant psychiatrist and chief clinical information officer at LYPFT, said: "This will bring so many benefits to patients and clinicians alike. For patients it means they are more likely to receive the right care and undergo fewer unnecessary diagnostic tests and examinations.

"For clinicians, it means we can be confident we are getting a full and clear picture of a patient's case history whenever and wherever we see them. This could be in hospital or in a community setting. This means we spend less time searching for the up to date information and more time seeing and treating people."

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