County council and local health board become the first from the two sectors to begin joint use of WCCIS
A local authority and health board in Wales have become the first to stage a joint implementation of the country’s integrated health and social care system.
Powys County Council and Powys Teaching Health Board have deployed the Welsh Community Care Information System (WCCIS) to give staff including community nurses, mental health teams, social workers and therapists shared access to relevant information.
The system has already been implemented in a handful of local authorities, with more to follow over the next few weeks, but this is the first deployment in which a health board is also involved.
It reflects the moves towards integrated working between the two that has seen them share a senior official in Carol Shillabeer (pictured), who is chief executive of the health board and interim strategic director of people at Powys County Council.
She commented: “For the first time, members of the integrated teams in our first phase implementers can access client records shared across health and care.
“For staff, this will increasingly offer a single point of access to information to support them to deliver joined up health and care. It will reduce duplication and save time that can be invested into frontline care. For service users and carers this will reduce frustration and duplication, and improve consistency and continuity of care.”
The Welsh Government provided £6.7 million in capital funding for the initial set-up costs for the WCCIS and has made a further £4 million available to support its implementation via the Integrated Care Fund.
Social Services Minister Rebecca Evans said: “By being the first area to go live with the new system in both the local authority and health board, Powys is truly pioneering this exciting new system. The system represents genuine integration between our health and social care services.
“It is very important that we realise the potential benefits offered by this new system. For frontline practitioners, it allows them to provide more consistent, co-ordinated care and support for individuals in their own communities, while for people receiving that care, it ensures they receive high quality care in or as close to their home as possible.”
The WCCIS makes it possible to share information across regional and organisational boundaries, with access determined on a ‘need to know’ basis, and is accessible for frontline staff through tablets and smartphones.
The NHS Wales Informatics Service has said that information on the system is used and shared in line with data protection legislation, and retained in line with national retention guidance for public bodies. This means it is confidentially destroyed as soon as the minimum retention periods have been reached.
Image from Powys Teaching Health Board