The health records of 176,000 children living in East Cheshire and Cheshire West and Chester have been integrated into a new, unified child health information system.

The deployment is the first step in a three-phase project to adopt System C’s CarePlus child health information system across the whole of the Cheshire and Merseyside region.

It follows the awarding of a five-year contract for the Cheshire and Merseyside Child Health Information Services to NHS SCW Commissioning Support Unit (SCW) from April 2020.

In Cheshire, the fully digital service will help care professionals know where every child is and how healthy they are, as well as providing appropriate access to information for all professionals involved in the care of the region’s children.

The new record system is also connected to the National Events Management Service (NEMS), a national service developed by NHS Digital to allow an individual’s event messages to be shared from one system to another.

Cheshire follows Surrey, which went live with CarePlus in March 2020.

Sue Trinder, child health information services director at South Central and West CSU, said: “I want to give a huge thanks to everyone involved in getting this record system online by the agreed deadline, and in such difficult circumstances.

“The new service has proved even more valuable given the Covid-19 outbreak and having a joined-up child health information system will bolster our efforts to care for children in the area.”

Unifying the child health information services across the different localities into a single instance of CarePlus was a complex process. Some 175,577 children’s records from two existing EMIS systems were uploaded to CarePlus.

The ongoing Covid-19 crisis added to the project complexities.  The outbreak prohibited any onsite presence which meant adapting parts of the deployment. Face-to-face training had to be moved to video calls and floor walking was delivered remotely with open Skype sessions so users could get immediate assistance as they started using the system.

A single integrated system in the aftermath of the outbreak will strengthen the region’s child health information service. CarePlus will help to ensure all children receive their vaccinations at the right time.

Markus Bolton, joint chief executive of System C, added: “A single child health record such as Cheshire’s is vital to ensuring the health and protection of 0-19-year olds.

“I’m really pleased we’ve been able to support this project. South Central and West have done extremely well to get their service live on time and at a crucial period.”