NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has reported that new way of creating and sharing end of life care plans has been adopted by nearly every GP practice in Somerset since being launched in April 2019.

The Electronic Palliative and Care Co-ordination System (EPaCCS) provides a ‘single source of truth’ record for important end of life information for patients in Somerset.

Using a pre-defined workflow, EPaCCS enables GPs and other care professionals – including district nurses, out-of-hours services and palliative care professionals – to create plans in under a minute using pre-populated information from the patient’s GP record.

Once created, any care professional involved in the patient’s direct care can view and update the EPaCCS record.

Somerset CCG said the use of EPaCCS had “grown consistently” since launch, as healthcare professionals realise benefits over the previous system.

In the past, care professionals may not have known anything about an end of life patient when they met them, or the little information they did have was fragmented and difficult to find.

To date, 95 per cent of GP practices have adopted EPaCCS, creating over 1,000 records.

Dr Justin Harrington, GP and CCIO at NHS Somerset CCG, said: “We have had positive feedback so far, especially from the Yeovil District Hospital NHS FT’s palliative care team.

“They really like the fact that, when they consult a new patient, the information on EPaCCS means they can get straight to appropriate treatment and know what is most important to that person.”

EPaCCS has been developed as part of the Somerset Integrated Digital electronic Record (SIDeR) programme, and was shaped by care professionals in conjunction with the SIDeR Technology Partner, Black Pear.

Any updates to patient’s end of life care records are automatically stored in SIDeR, while a copy is additionally written back into the GP record that is visible to 111/Out of Hours. Similarly, EPaCCS records are automatically updated with any changes made to the GP patient records

EPaCCS is the first service under, SIDeR which will go live in 2020. The programme aims to enable care professionals who are providing direct care to see patient information that other key Somerset health and social care providers hold, in one clear, simple-to-use application.

Cheryl Cowley, chief project officer at Black Pear, said: “The quick roll-out is down to the excellent NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group’s Digital team, enthusiasm of their GPs and support from Somerset Local Medical Committee.

“GPs can see immediate benefits not only to their patients but to colleagues in out-of-hours services.”

SIDeR is a key part of Somerset’s health and care strategy, Fit for My Future. It is being delivered through a partnership between Somerset County Council and Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), supported by our major NHS providers.