Three NHS organisations and three local authorities have now gone live in the first wave of a nationwide Child Protection Information Sharing project, the Health and Social Care Information Centre has confirmed.

The CP-IS system will flag children identified as vulnerable by social services to NHS staff if they attend A&E or other unscheduled care settings.

The project, which will cost £8.6 million over the next five years, has been developed by the HSCIC. It will hold information centrally in a secure database, from where it can be accessed via the NHS data Spine.

In December, Lancashire Teaching and Homerton University Hospital NHS foundation trusts became the first to go live with CP-IS.

An HSCIC spokesperson told EHI News the CP-IS project is now live across three local authorities and three NHS sites.

Another 15 local authority sites are currently preparing to transmit information using the system, while there are a further 18 NHS sites ready to receive the alerts.

The spokesperson said the HSCIC expects to meet its goal of having 80% per cent of England’s local authorities capable of transmitting data by the end of 2015.

Seven of the eleven existing children’s social care systems, covering 94% of the local authority children social care market, are due to complete CP-IS testing by April, allowing any local authorities using the systems to adopt and deploy CP-IS.

The spokesperson said unscheduled care settings are also preparing to receive the data, while any health professional in an unscheduled care setting who has the correct permissions, right to view, and an NHS Smartcard can already see the information transmitted.

Early feedback from users has been that the system has already helped clinicians to identify at-risk children who would otherwise not have been spotted, as well as unborn children who are subject to a child protection plan, the spokesperson said.

The CP-IS project will connect social care, emergency departments, out of hours GP services, walk-in centres, paediatric wards, maternity wards, minor injury units and ambulance services with IT systems used in local authorities’ child protection systems.

The system is expected to be rolled out nationwide by 2018, connecting 1,230 NHS settings and 152 local authorities across England.

The idea is that when a child who has a child protection plan in place, or when child with a ‘child looked after’ status, goes into A&E, an indicator flag will automatically appear, informing staff that this is a child at risk.

Only NHS staff involved with the care of the child will have access to the information, which is non-clinical. It will be accessed via a secure electronic system and robust rules about who has permission to view the information are in place.

Sam Sachdeva visited Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, one of the first trusts to go live with CP-IS, to see how it integrated the alerts into its  electronic patient record system. Read an Insight piece about the site visit today.