NHS Wales and NHS Scotland have agreed an alliance to share technology developments and expertise.

The Health Informatics Service Alliance provides a formal framework that builds on existing collaboration between the two countries.

NHS Wales already uses an electronic messaging system developed in Scotland called SCI Gateway. This manages electronic referrals and discharges and cross-border exchange of patient information.

Northern Ireland also uses the Scottish system for referrals and is expected to join the Wales/Scotland collaborative shortly.

The aim is to work in partnership; “to develop new and existing services, applications and ideas to achieve greater efficiencies, economies of scale and capacity to serve the health and social care economies in the member countries”, a statement says.

The agreement has created a service management board with representatives from Wales and Scotland, which will agree shared objectives. The board will provide a forum to consider operational requirements including maintenance, development and decommissioning and to oversee quality and user requirements.

"This collaboration will ensure that we can work together to deliver services effectively to benefit the member countries, with new opportunities to be gained from shared innovation," said NHS Wales Informatics Service Director, Andrew Griffiths.

Mike Ogonovsky, NHS Wales Informatics Service's head of health and social care informatics said: "This will make it easier to maximise the use of resources by agreeing a shared development schedule and to prioritise shared requirements.”