The chief digital officer (CDO) of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership has vowed to work with “neighbours on all sides” to deliver more integrated healthcare in northern England, following its successful Local Health and Care Record Exemplar (LHCRE) bid.

Stephen Dobson, the partnership’s interim CDO, said the partnership would work with neighbouring regions including Lancashire and Merseyside to share information and ensure that those that missed out on LHCRE bids could still benefit from the programme.

He added that STPs in the north of England were “keen to share their material and to work together so that everybody can get to a common capability”.

Greater Manchester will receive £7.5m to drive the integration of health and care records after being named one of three LHCRE communities by NHS England last week.

Initially, NHS England was expected to select five LHCREs from the ten bids it received. As it stands currently, Greater Manchester is the only LHCRE representing the north of England.

Heath and Care CIO, Will Smart, has suggested that an additional two NHS communities would be taken on board following individual assessments about their plans.

“We were very pleased that we got it, but it would have been great to get our neighbours Lancashire or Leeds in there – that would have been wonderful,” Dobson told Digital Health News.

“We absolutely intend to work with them. Part of the bid involved making sure that it’s not just looked at as an insular STP.”

The £7.5m investment from NHS England will be used to connect IT systems across all 10 boroughs in Greater Manchester so they can share patient information.

Once complete, information from 472 GP practices, 10 acute trusts, 10 councils, three mental health trusts, three out of hours providers and six community providers will be linked to create a shared care record covering 2.8 million citizens.

Manchester, Stockport, Trafford, Bolton and Salford already use Graphnet’s CareCentric system to connect different IT systems and enable the sharing of information.

The remaining localities – Rochdale, Bury, Oldham, Tameside and Glossop and Wigan – are now planning to adopt CareCentric having undertaken a local procurement process.

Beverley Bryant, chief operating officer of the System C & Graphnet Care Alliance, said: “We are delighted to see Manchester integrate and expand its record in this way.

“There are massive benefits available from sharing data and it is very gratifying to see systems like this being deployed at scale and across large patient populations.”

‘Very significant’ for Manchester

Dobson added that LHCRE bid was “very significant” for sharing information across Greater Manchester.

“One of the biggest safety issues is in that transition of care, as people move from one organisation to the next,” he said.

“This is going to help with that.”

The LHCRE project is being led by Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership with support from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Health Innovation Manchester.

In addition to delivering an integrated care record, another focus for the Greater Manchester LHCRE will be population health management, Dobson said.

“The whole thing fits very well with the Greater Manchester agenda of early intervention and prevention, and involving the population more with their clinical record.”

Other than providing patients with increased access to their own information, “robust” information governance and data sharing agreements will be enforced across the whole care community to define which professionals see can access what information.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said in a press statement: “Improving the ways we collect, use and share patient information is just one step on our course to deliver a 21st century health and social care service here in Greater Manchester.

“We want to lead the way on healthcare, providing a fully integrated service that is centred on the needs of individuals, provides long-term care solutions, helps people live independently, and supports people in their own homes and communities.