Greater Manchester ramps up region-wide care record to support care and treatment as part of COVID-19 response
02 June 2020

Health and care organisations across Greater Manchester have accelerated the deployment of a GM Care Record for all 2.8m citizens to provide frontline professionals with vital information in the fight against COVID-19.

The GM Care Record collates information held by different health and care organisations to ensure that GPs, doctors, nurses and practitioners can see up to date medical records, care plans, medications and test results to inform the right care and treatment.

It means that patients won’t have to keep repeating their medical history to each professional, clinicians will be better equipped to identify patterns and care will be planned more effectively to meet patients’ needs.

This builds on the existing borough-based care records that are in place already and will now create a single joined-up care record for all of GM. The system has been developed by tech company Graphnet, which specialises in developing health and care IT solutions.

In response to the pandemic, the GM Care Record also includes information about when a patient has been tested or diagnosed with COVID-19 to ensure continuity of care across different care settings.

The project has been overseen by Health Innovation Manchester and the GM Health and Social Care Partnership, working on behalf of GM’s devolved health and care partners. Rapid progress has been made in weeks rather than months as part of the city region’s COVID-19 digital response plan and collaborative effort.

Professor Ben Bridgewater, Chief Executive of Health Innovation Manchester, said: “The GM Care Record supports clinical decision making by providing access to important information on medications, test results, care plans and social care support. All of which are essential to treating COVID-19 and other health conditions. The accelerated deployment of the record is a major step forward in ensuring patients are provided with the best possible care based on the most accurate and up to date information.

“It is also a testament to the strength of our existing devolved partnerships across GM to take swift action on things that will directly benefit patients and frontline services.”
Dr Tom Tasker, GP and Chair of the GM Joint Commissioning Board, commented: “It has been a great achievement to move forward with the GM Care Record at such pace and scale, with commissioners, GPs and providers working together in the best interest of patients. Providing health and care professionals with access to this information is essential in the fight against COVID-19 and ensuring continuity across care pathways.”

Karen James OBE, Chief Executive of Tameside Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust and member of the GM Provider Federation Board, commented: “The GM Care Record will have a direct impact on the quality and precision of care we are able to provide patients, particularly those with complex needs across multiple specialties. Sharing this information has never been more important as it will greatly aid clinical decision making and will reduce the burden on both patients on clinicians, freeing up valuable time to care.”

Supporting COVID-19 planning and research

The ability to share data through the GM Care Record is backed by a GM-wide approach to data protection and information sharing in accordance with national guidance, such as defining under which circumstances professionals can access the record.
As well as being able to access information for direct care, anonymised data in relation to COVID-19 will also be used for research and planning purposes to gain a greater understanding of COVID-19, how best to tackle it and the type of services that needs to be in place. This will be overseen by an expert group including members of the public, researchers and clinical leaders.

Dr Kiran Patel, GP and Chair of the secondary uses scrutiny group, commented: “As well as informing direct care, the GM Care Record will help the NHS to understand more about how COVID-19 is affecting the health and wellbeing of local communities and what services need to be in place, as well as informing the world leading research being conducted by our four GM universities.”