Millions of patients to benefit from Great North Care Record

The Great North Care Record, a pioneering digital health project, is improving the treatment of three million people across the North East and North Cumbria.

The project, a collaboration between the £20 million Government funded Connected Health Cities programme and local NHS providers, is a new, more efficient way of sharing care information electronically across the region between authorised healthcare practitioners with the patient’s permission.

It means potentially life-saving key information on patients’ health, such as diagnoses, medication, hospital admissions and treatments, can be shared securely in hospital emergency departments, out of hours and ambulance services almost instantaneously to help patients receive the care they need quicker.

The Great North Care Record is accessed around 25,000 times every month and its use is growing.

Professor Joe McDonald, consultant psychiatrist at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and director at Connected Health Cities, said: “The Great North Care Record is a new approach which enables GP surgeries, hospitals and ambulance services to work as one at the point of need.

“This means medical professionals can now see patient records immediately, allowing them to make quicker and better clinical decisions, saving precious time, speeding up treatment and potentially saving patients’ lives.

“Historically, care records are like a jigsaw puzzle – with small bits of information held at the GP surgery, in A&E, on the ward but they don’t all work together. We have done lots of research with patients and many are surprised that this information is not already easily shared between organisations. The Great North Care Record makes everything come together to complete the picture for better patient care.”

Dr Phil Stamp, Accident and Emergency Consultant from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have seen real benefits since we implemented this shared health care record. We can now access key medical information about most patients arriving in our Emergency Department. We know the information is up to date and it means that we can treat our patients more efficiently and safely.”

A new animation has been unveiled by the Great North Care Record team, explaining how it works and highlighting the benefits of sharing information electronically with healthcare staff across the North East and North Cumbria.

Previously, patient information wasn’t easily shared between health organisations and by sharing these records digitally with the Great North Care Record, healthcare practitioners can access up to date details immediately and around-the-clock.

The Great North Care Record is a collaboration between Connected Health Cities North East and North Cumbria, the North East and North Cumbria Urgent and Emergency Care Network and all the local healthcare organisations providing NHS care in our region.

Currently, 96% of all GP surgery practices in the North East and North Cumbria are sharing information under the Great North Care Record.

Healthcare professionals ask patients for permission before they access their record and all patients can opt out of their medical information being shared if they would prefer.

Prof McDonald concludes: “Only authorised clinicians and health professionals can access this patient information and they are required to ask patients’ permission to view their details through the Great North Care Record. Patients can refuse at this point and they can also opt out of the system altogether – but by allowing us to access their records, it helps us to help them.

“Ultimately, the Great North Care Record is about making urgent care decisions more efficiently for the benefits of patients – decisions which could affect their treatment or even save their lives.”

Great North Care Record’s new animation can be viewed at