Central Eastern Commissioning Support Unit is using a Harris portal to allow GPs to see information about children deemed ‘at risk’ by community colleagues.

A pilot involving around 100 GPs starts next month, followed by a review to decide whether to roll it out to the full GP population.

The portal pulls data from practices using TPP’s SystmOne and displays it for those using other systems such as Emis.

Community staff use SystmOne to raise a flag in their electronic records if they believe a child is at risk, but this could previously only be seen by other SystmOne users.

All GPs involved in the pilot will now have read-only access to basic demographics, the names of a child’s family members and any recent A&E attendances.

Before this, they relied on manual processes for gathering ‘safeguarding information’ involved in a child’s care.

Lloyd Baker, assistant director ICT informatics and chief information officer at Central Eastern CSU said: “There is a wealth of information that is locked away in different IT systems that GPs and other health and social care professionals simply do not know exists or cannot access.

“The portal will provide a much quicker and efficient way of opening up access to that information, which is imperative in recognising whether a child is at risk and will allow healthcare professionals to take the necessary steps to protect them at the earliest stage possible.”

The CSU is in discussions with police, probation and social services about expanding access to the information.

“The recent Caldicott2 report highlighted a ‘duty to share’ information when it is in a patient’s best interest. We believe that appropriate sharing of relevant information can improve quality and even save lives,” Lloyd said.

However, he acknowledged that information governance was an issue.

“We have got some significant barriers still to overcome, but we want to get this done and have started small and we are not looking at anything as a blocker,” he explained.

The CSU’s vision is to centrally host the Harris portal platform for providers of NHS services across the Central CSU region, including community health, mental health and acute NHS hospitals to utilise on a ‘software as a service’ basis.