Adults with learning disabilities in Swansea are set to become the first social services clients in Wales to benefit from a new electronic care record system linking together health and social care professionals.

This Friday, 7 November, Swansea’s city and council Social Services department will officially launch a new computerised client record system, which will be jointly used with Bro Morgannwg NHS Trust, a provider of acute and community services.  

Developed in partnership with health social care electronic records system supplier In4Tek, the Paris system is intended to improving planning and provision for adults with a learning disability.  It will provide a single secure, shared electronic record for every client receiving services.

Adults with learning disabilities in Swansea have their needs assessed, and care delivered or commissioned by two joint teams.  Members of these teams can include social services staff, doctors, nurses, psychologists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists.  Traditionally they have largely relied on multiple systems, many of them paper-based, to communicate with each other.

Carol Rae, principal officer in charge of learning disability services for Swansea Social Services, told E-Health insider: “Over the past 12-months we’ve defined new service standards, and mapped and then re-engineered our processes.  We’ve taken the Paris product and configured it to support our re-designed processes.”

Key objectives of the Paris system will be to end the need for repeated assessments of clients, by directly supporting the new unified care assessment process – under which health and social care providers carry out one assessment of an individual’s care needs. 

A further anticipated benefit communication between front line staff providing services for an individual and improve communication and co-ordination of all health and social care professionals involved in the range of multi-disciplinary care teams.  All information is safeguarded and secure within the system, with different levels of role-based access.

Electronic messaging forms a key part of the Paris system, allowing staff to allocate referrals and enquiries electronically.  Rae said that staff reaction had been extremely positive, but stressed they had been involved in the development and configuration of the system from the beginning of the project.

In addition to an integrated multi-disciplinary care record the Paris system will contain details of unified assessments, care plans, and case notes.  “It’s the complete care record,” said Rae.  “It improves communication and makes for a far more integrated service. This is real first in Wales.”    

Rae added that the Paris system developed for Swansea met the requirements contained in the key Welsh Assembly policy documents ‘Informing Social Care’ and ‘Informing Healthcare’.  “If you look at many of the aspirations contained in those documents the approach we have taken will fulfil many of the aspirations – particularly around improving operational effectiveness.”

Funding for the new system has been supported by funding from the Welsh Assembly Performance Management Development.  The project will initially be launched with the Community Support Team but it is hoped to eventually extend it throughout Swansea social services.

The Paris system will also help improve the information available to plan and develop future services for adults with a learning disability. “We are trying to make practice and performance management something that everyone owns themselves,” explained Rae.

Councillor John Davies, Swansea council cabinet member for Social Services said: "The flexibility of the Paris product has enabled staff to develop a system to support and improve their day to day work. All information about service needs and delivery will be held on one secure record unique to the individual receiving the service.”