Matthew Gould has praised efforts to join up healthcare systems in the north-east, saying they are “tackling the issues around sharing patient data, safely and securely.”

Gould, chief executive of the newly-formed NHSX, recently visited the offices of the Great North Care Record (GNCR) in Newcastle to find out more about the regional drive in digital healthcare technology.

He was also the “guest of honour” for the opening of the organisation’s new offices at North East Futures UTC, a brand new state-funded technical school specialising in IT and Healthcare Science for 14 to 19-year-olds.

While there, Gould was told more about the technological challenges facing the region and how sharing patient data could support health and care.

The GNCR was established in 2016 as a means of sharing patient information electronically across the North East and North Cumbria to improve treatment and care.

Eventually, information recorded in hospital systems, which is currently not easily shared, will be transferred to GPs and other health and care organisations.

Gould said: “I have seen throughout my tour of the NHS frontline across the country the impact that lack of access to data has on patients and clinicians. The North East and North Cumbria has solved some of the challenges around sharing data and by putting patients in charge – really enables the benefits of data sharing to be realised.”

According to GNCR statistics, the record is being viewed over 100,000 times a month and is accessible by 100% of GPs in the region, helping to dramatically change the means by which medical information is passed between health and care organisations.

Cerner recent took up the mantle to supply the information exchange element of the shared record across the North East and Cumbria, providing staff with access to all the relevant information needed for patients’ care, such as medications, test results, pre-existing conditions and the like.

As a result, potentially life-saving key information on patients’ health can be shared quickly and securely.

Around 3.6million patients living in the North East and North Cumbria will eventually be able to set their own sharing preferences with healthcare planners, researchers and other organisations involved in their care.

Professor Joe McDonald, Consultant Psychiatrist at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and Director of the Great North Care Record, said: “We’re pleased that Matthew has taken the time to visit and find out more about the challenges facing our region, and grateful for the opportunity to demonstrate what the Great North Care Record is all about. Digital transformation is integral to the future success of our NHS and it’s something that we believe passionately about.

“By sharing patient information across GP, hospitals and other services at the point of need, medical professionals can see patient records immediately, allowing them to make quicker and better clinical decisions – saving them time, speeding up treatment and potentially saving lives.”