London has gone live with a capital-wide child health information service designed to reduce the risk of children falling through ‘gaps’.

The new service, powered by CarePlus (System C), provides a comprehensive electronic record of a child’s public health records. It replaces 18 different child health records departments using 18 separate IT solutions and was commissioned by NHS England (London region) in line with the new child health digital strategy.

Kenny Gibson, head of Public Health Commissioning London, said it is a way to keep track of children, and monitor and manage their care needs.

“It is designed to reduce the risk of children falling through ‘gaps’ as well as improve efficiency”, Gibson said.

Late last year, it was deployed in Manchester, across the West Midlands and more recently across six regions in the south of England integrating 800,000 health records.

Marjan Daneshpour, head of information and the child health foundation team for the SW London hub, said they are already seeing safety and efficiency benefits.

“The automated uploads of information and direct interoperability with key systems, for example, massively reduces manual interventions and duplicate processes, and this is inevitably going to cut the potential for error”, Daneshpour said.

“The notification of child births is also now automated across the capital at the end of every day, regardless of where the child was born – previously notification of children born in an ‘out of area’ hospital was a manual process reliant on one child health department contacting another.”

She said the integration is going to make it much simpler to trace children as they move around the city and make sure they don’t fall through the ‘net’.

An tragic example of this is the case of Victoria Climbié, 8, who was tortured and murdered by her guardians in 2000, despite repeated contact with social services, the NHS and the police.

The aim of this child health information service is to make sure that health professionals know where every child in London is and how healthy they are.

Markus Bolton, chief executive of System C said a very important part of the deployment is the use of Graphnet Carecentric.

“It provides the London-wide platform to allow authorised users beyond the child health teams to view the records and also manages the interfaces to third party systems such as e-redbook.”

In April this year, the Capital’s e-redbook began to be rolled out, in the first phase of a five-year programme to develop integrated child health records across England.

He added that child care records are vital as they record routine immunisations, newborn screening events and developmental checks, as well as providing vital information to local safeguarding teams.

“They also provide a fail-safe to ensure that all children, including those not registered with a GP, have been offered and have access to vital public health services.”

NHS England (London region) went out to tender for the new service last year, reorganising the 18 existing child health departments into four ‘hubs’.

The contracts to run the hubs were awarded to three different providers, each of which are using System C as their IT systems supplier – North East London Foundation Trust (NE London), Health Intelligence (NW and SE London) and Your Healthcare CIC (SW London).

It also involved integration with 27 maternity departments, three bloodspot screening laboratories, newborn hearing screening services as well as including electronic receipt of birth notification via the Spine.

The new London-wide system is now live, following a five-month deployment which involved migrating 1.5m children’s records to CarePlus.

The 18 organisations involved: 

  • Barnet, Enfield & Haringey Mental Health Trust
  • Barts Health NHS Trust
  • Bromley Healthcare
  • Central and North West London Healthcare Trust
  • Central London Community HealthCare
  • Croydon Health Services NHS Trust
  • East London Foundation Trust
  • Guys and St. Thomas Healthcare Trust
  • Homerton University Hospital
  • Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare Trust
  • Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust
  • London North West Healthcare NHS Trust
  • North East London Foundation Trust
  • Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust
  • Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
  • St Georges NHS Foundation Trust
  • Whittington Health NHS
  • YourHealthcare