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Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull patients are set to receive better and safer care with Your Care Connected.

Your Care Connected is a new system that will enable doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals working in hospitals to view information from a patient’s GP record, with the patient’s permission, to provide better, safer care – it could even save their life.

The system will be rolled out over the course of 2016, becoming available to all of the hospitals across Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull, including the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, City Hospital and Heartlands Hospital. It will also be made available to Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, West Midlands Ambulance Service, out of hours GP services and every GP practice, meaning that up to 1.8 million registered patients across the area will benefit.

Dr. Masood Nazir, a local GP and Chief Clinical Information Officer for Your Care Connected, believes it is absolutely essential for creating a more joined-up NHS: “As a local GP, it makes absolute sense to me that my patients' medical information should be shared real-time where relevant, appropriate and with their consent, to directly improve the care they receive whilst visiting a hospital. By giving local clinical colleagues the information they need, when they need it most, we can all work together to provide better, safer care for our patients."

It is more important than ever to ensure that all areas of the NHS work together to deliver the high-quality care patients expect and deserve.

The benefits are clear; faster access to vital information could save lives; lead to a reduction in the number of repeat blood tests and x-rays, as well as help to reduce unnecessary stays in hospital. It will also reduce a lot of the unnecessary paperwork, which means less time spent filling in forms or waiting for patient records to be sent across, freeing up time to focus on what matters most: caring for the patient.

Adrian Ball, a patient form Birmingham, added, “Your Care Connected can’t come quickly enough. It will take a lot of the stress away from hospital visits for patients; having one system that tells my story, holding all the relevant, reliable and essential information will provide me with better care.”

Patients at participating practices will be receiving a letter soon about Your Care Connected, including details on how much of their information will be shared and with whom. There will also be a public awareness campaign, with leaflets and posters available in practice and hospital waiting rooms; a new website and an increased social media presence.

Patients who wish to take part do not need to do anything; their record will automatically become available if they visit one of the participating hospitals or NHS services, for either a booked appointment or in an emergency. As long as the patient gives permission during the visit, the person treating them will be able to view their record. If a patient decides they do not wish to have their information shared through Your Care Connected, they can ‘opt-out’ completely by visiting their practice, or by returning the form included with the letter. It is important to note that this means their record will not be available to anyone other than their usual GP, even in an emergency.

If you’d like more information about Your Care Connected, you can visit the website http://midlandsyourcareconnected.nhs.uk