St Helens NHS chief executive voices concerns over new record system usage

The new confidential computer record system allows health and social care professionals to access the most up-to-date information about patients
The new confidential computer record system allows health and social care professionals to access the most up-to-date information about patients

St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s chief executive has expressed concerns over the low number of partners accessing a new integrated record system.


Since last September the St Helens Shared Care Record has been gradually rolling out to GPs, hospitals, community, mental health and social care services.

The confidential computer record allows health and social care professionals to access the most up-to-date information about patients.

On Wednesday, the People’s Board were given an update on the roll-out, and what is planned next for the service, which was described as having the potential to be “transformational”.

Christine Walters, director of informatics at the trust, is leading on the Shared Care Record. She told members of the board that in May, there were more than 3,000 accesses to the system.

This prompted Ann Marr, chief executive of the trust, to express concerns that there was more the partnership could do to increase usage.

“I’m still worried about the 3,000 accesses because it just fells to me as though that should be a much bigger figure,” Ms Marr said

Ms Walters said the figures should see a significant jump when North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which delivers a range of health services across St Helens, start using the Shared Care Record.

“It should be bigger, and it will be bigger,” Ms Walters said. “We are working with the different organisations.

“North West Boroughs have only literally just provided their data and they haven’t started to use the system.

“So, a lot of community staff and North West Boroughs staff aren’t using the system at the moment.

“There is a small team there and we are focusing on how we get out and about and making sure that people are aware of the system and how we get a greater take-up.”

Long-term, Ms Walters said various planned actions should see the number of accesses increase going forward.

Ms Walters said: “We are going to be moving next year into our patient portal.

“People will be going in there to access information, but they’ll also be encouraged to start to self-manage their own care.

“So again, the uptake will increase significantly.

“You are right Ann, it’s not as high as any of us would like but compared to other areas we’re still significantly higher than any other area’s been at this point in the journey.”

John Heritage, chief operating officer of North West Boroughs Healthcare, called the Shared Care Record a “gamechanger for the people of St Helens”.

He sought assurances that there was usage data that could be fed back to staff to “supportively remind” them that using the Shared Care Record was in the best interests of their patients.

Ms Marr added that the Shared Care Record was a “fantastic opportunity” and was “pivotal” in being able to improve services.

“I suppose it’s just that impatience to realise there are huge benefits from this if only we can get people to engage with it,” Ms Marr said.

“If there’s something else we need to do we need to decide what it is that we need to do, because this is one of those systems whereby we really can transform the care we deliver.”