Bristol City Council, the largest unitary authority in England, has selected supplier in4tek to supply its Paris electronic record systems and IT solutions from in4tek to support Bristol’s Social Services and Health Department’s goal of delivering integrated care.

The integrated records system will be introduced over the next two years, beginning with a six month pilot in the Department’s children’s services division. Work will also be carried out to link records from the Paris to Care Direct — the new advice and information service for older people that Bristol is a pilot for.

The system is intended to enable Bristol to share information and work with partner agencies such as local NHS organisations.

Bill Venable, the Department’s project manager, explained. “Discussions are continuing on the development of integrated primary health and social care services linked to the Primary Care Trusts and the need for integrated information systems to accompany this development. Plans for closer integration of Mental Health Services with a single Mental Health Trust are also underway”

In4Tek say Paris is the first application designed to fully support care across both health and social care settings, and can be deployed in Primary Care Trusts, Care Trusts, Mental Health Trusts and Social Services departments. It is the product of five years R&D in the UK and Europe.

Commenting on the selection of Paris, Mr Venables said: “Our organisation’s primary task is providing care. It’s a task that covers many professional disciplines. We require a system that enables not just inter-communication, but is capable of the comprehensive integration of information between various organisations and professions involved in delivering care.

The PARIS computerised records system was chosen partly based on feedback from operational staff. “Our feedback was that they liked the look and feel of the Windows based system," said Mr Venables.

He stressed that implementation over the next two year would be a major challenge: “Implementing Paris is a big project. It will affect the way we work and use information." Paris is being introduced as a partnership between managers, practitioners, administration and management information staff.

Malcolm Douglas, in4tek’s business manager social services said, “In Paris we have produced a citizen-centric system, which is in line with the Government’s strategy to provide the technology to support the integration of the delivery of care.”

The Health and Social Care Department of Bristol City Council serves a population of 406,000, has an annual budget in excess of £84 million and employs over 3,000 staff. It operates from over one hundred sites across the city, including include eight hospitals, in which social work teams are based, day centres, residential and children’s homes.