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Gosport GP practices joined up by IT

Patients across Gosport are benefiting from GP surgeries working together to significantly improve patient safety.

For the first time, all eleven GP practices in the town are using the same software to access patient record systems.

The move was vital for the success of the same-day access service which started at Gosport War Memorial Hospital (GWMH) shortly before Christmas.

It means, with patient consent, that doctors, nurses or other clinicians at any practice can access someone’s records if they need to from the ‘hub’ at GWMH – rather than just the practice where the patient is registered.

Clinicians from four practices are pooling staff resources at GWMH to provide a faster service to patients from their practices wanting to speak to a health professional on the day they make contact.

Depending on their medical needs, patients are either offered an appointment or a telephone consultation in a pilot initiative which aims to improve patient services and combat problems of GP recruitment in the town.

Previously, the 11 Gosport practices used three IT systems. But all 11 are now using EMIS, which was already being used by five of them. The changeover has been paid for by NHS Fareham and Gosport Clinical Commissioning Group, which plans and buys health services for around 200,000 people in its area.

Dr Donal Collins, who chairs the Locality Board which includes all the Gosport practices, said: “The first of the six practices which were not previously using EMIS migrated in May, and the last one has recently completed the switch.

“This is good news for the practices, but more importantly it’s very good news for patients too.

“It means that any clinician working on the Same Day Access Service pilot can, providing a patient has given prior consent, look at a patient’s notes and continuity of care.

“It could help them be aware of critical information which a patient forgot to mention for any reason, such as a prescribed drug that they might be receiving. It will significantly improve patient safety.

“It also prevents a patient from having to tell the same story to every different clinician they see or speak to, which is something patients have told us they find extremely irritating in this day and age when we should be making full use of everything that new technology offers us. Well now we are.”