Connecting your Care FAQs

What is Connecting your Care?

We’re improving the way we connect your care across south west London. Soon, health and care professionals will be able to access your records from other health and care organisation when you need them to. This will make it quicker and easier for you when you visit your GP or hospital.

Connecting your Care means that professionals involved in your care such as your GP, hospital doctors, nurses and Social Workers and other care organisations will be able to immediately see important information about you through a secure system, to help them make the best decisions about your care, which could be lifesaving in emergency situations.

In the future, we will also be working with other health and care organisations across south west London to share a more detailed care record for you. This means that everyone involved in your care will be able to make the best decisions for your treatment.

The system will not collect or record any new information about you. It just shows the team looking after you important information about you held in several different places, to give them information and help them manage your care. The information is shown to them in a summary screen in what is known as a “read-only” view. This means that the information displayed cannot be changed, it can only be read for information.

Systems similar to “Connecting your Care” already exist in other parts of London, such as in Newham and Homerton, and Lewisham, Greenwich and Bexley. We have worked closely with those organisations, and some of the technical experts who worked in Lewisham and Greenwich are now working on this project with us to ensure we build on their knowledge and experience.

How will Connecting your Care benefit me?

The health and care professionals looking after you will have immediate access to important, and up-to-date information which will enable them to treat you more quickly and efficiently. This will also allow them to provide more joined-up care by working more closely with all services caring for you.

This means:

• You will only have to share your history once, then other health and care professionals can simply confirm it with you

• The people looking after you will be able to see what medications you take and any allergies you may have, which makes it safer for them to prescribe new medications for you

• Your test results will be visible to health and care professionals regardless of where you had the test e.g. if your GP ordered a blood test, and you later attend A&E or an NHS Walk in Centre the doctors will be able to see the result from the GP system. This means they don’t have to do the test again, saving you time and potentially discomfort. Similarly, your GP will be able to see the results of tests taken in hospital without having to wait for the hospital summary or letter to arrive in the post

• Most importantly, the people looking after you can make better decisions, with more information available to help them in assessing and treating you, which could be lifesaving in emergency situations.

What information will be shared about me?

Any information shared about you or your child will be part of a pre-defined set of values that have been agreed to be directly relevant to your health and care needs by the organisation that holds this information. The lists of pre-defined information that will be shared electronically for each organisation can be found here and includes:

• Your name, address and NHS number to help identify you correctly
• Information about your appointments and hospital attendances
• Important clinical history, including diagnoses, the medicines you are taking, and any allergies you may have
• Test results, such as blood tests and x-rays.

Except in the instance of children’s social care information, which is not shared, Connecting your Care will share both adult and children’s health information.

For residents in Kingston and Sutton (where there is an existing care record agreement):

If you are known to Adult Social Services, information such as type of assessments, team and case worker details, and timescale of review will be available.

What information will not be shared about me?

Certain information is classified as highly sensitive and is restricted by law, such as sexual health, assisted conception and adoption records. This information will not be shared.

For residents in Kingston and Sutton: 

Social care information relating to financial circumstances or legal status (such as county court judgements or fines) will not be shared as they are not directly relevant to health and care needs.

No children’s social care information will be shared as part of this system.

How does it work?

By electronically connecting the information held at each organisation, your information will be available to the health and care professionals who are providing services to you, while they are looking at your records on their own system. This means they will not only be able to see the information they already hold about you but they can also check if other organisations have information that can be shared if it is directly relevant to your health and care needs. For example, when your GP sees you following an A&E attendance they can check what happened to you and have immediate access to important information about your care such as any medication given to you and any follow up care needed.

Where is my information stored?

Information about you will be stored the same way it is now on each organisation’s care record system and is not saved to the new electronic view.

Any information displayed about you in Connecting your Care from other health or social care organisations will be only available while your record is being looked at to provide you with direct care.

Who can see my information?

Only the people directly involved in your care, at the time and place when you see them, or when they are preparing to see you or following up results, clinical letters or follow up care can see your information.

This might be your GP or practice nurse, hospital doctors and nurses, Social Workers and administrators who might be arranging your appointments and care.

Which organisations will be sharing my information?

For the first part of this programme we will be connecting your GP system with the local hospital, so your GP can see your hospital record and health professionals in hospitals can see your GP record. In some areas, where other services are already sharing more information than this, then these services will also be included in the first phase.

When other organisations join Connecting your Care later in the programme or there is substantial change to the system, we will inform you. You can also visit our website for an update: www.swlondon.nhs.uk/connectingyourcare

The organisations we are connecting first are:

• GP practices in the boroughs of Croydon, Merton, Kingston, Richmond, Sutton and Wandsworth
• Croydon Health Services NHS Trust
• St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust
• Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
• Epsom & St Helier University Hospitals.

Staff at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals will not be sharing information to Connecting your Care just yet but will be able to look at information other organisations are sharing.

For patients registered with GP practices in Kingston

As your information is already being shared the following organisations are also included in the first phase of Connecting your Care:
• South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust
• Your Healthcare Community Interest Company
• Royal Borough of Kingston Adult Social Care.

For patients registered with GP practices in Sutton

As your information is already being shared the following organisations are also included in the first phase of Connecting your Care:
• London Borough of Sutton Adult Social Care
• Sutton Adult and Children’s Community Services.

 

Which organisations are we connecting first?

  • GP practices in Croydon, Merton, Kingston, Richmond, Sutton and Wandsworth boroughs
  • Croydon Health Services NHS Trust
  • St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Epsom & St Helier University Hospital
For patients registered with GP practices in Kingston only (following the existing Kingston Care Record) this will also include:
  • South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust
  • Your Healthcare Community Interest Company
  • Royal Borough of Kingston Adult Social Care
For patients registered with GP practices in Sutton only (following the existing Sutton Integrated Digital Care Record) this will also include:
  • London Borough of Sutton Social Care
  • Sutton Community Services

What is South West London Health and Care Partnership?

The South West London Health and Care Partnership is comprised of the organisations providing health and care across the NHS, local authorities and the voluntary sector in six south west London boroughs.

We are working together in four local partnerships, acting as one team to keep people healthy and well in Croydon, Sutton, Kingston & Richmond, and Merton & Wandsworth.

Do I have a choice?

If you are happy for your information to be shared in this way, then you don’t need to do anything. Connecting your Care will be phased in over the next few months so you have time to consider your choice.

What if I want to opt out?

If you do not want your information to be shared, you have the right to opt out by visiting www.swlondon.nhs.uk/connectingyourcare and downloading the opt-out request form.

You can also pick up an opt-out request form from your GP practice or the Patient Advice and Liaison Services (PALS) at your local hospital.

Before opting out, please make sure you have read these FAQs so that you understand the benefits that we believe being part of this programme will bring you. Please also read the Deciding to Opt Out leaflet.

Opting out of Connecting your Care is not linked in any way to the National Data Opt Out, or any other local or national data sharing agreements such as the Kingston Care Record, Sutton Integrated Digital Care Record or the Summary Care Record. Even if you have already opted out of another system your opt out cannot be carried forward, and you must request to opt out of Connecting your Care directly.

We will try to process your opt out request within 10 working days but it can sometimes take longer. If you have not heard from us to confirm that your request is complete within 28 days please contact us on: By email: connectingyourcare@swlondon.nhs.uk
By phone: 020 3668 3100
By post: Freepost SWL CONNECTING YOUR CARE

What happens if I opt out?

Opting out means that your information will continue to be shared between health and care professionals in the same way it is now – by phone, email, fax or letter – but this will take time to collect and you will not be able to take advantage of the benefits of sharing information securely through the electronic Connecting your Care view.

This means that the people looking after you may not have your full history available to them when they assess you and decisions about your care may take longer to make.

How can you guarantee my information will not fall into the wrong hands? And what legal safeguards are in place?

Only the people directly involved in the care you receive, will be able to see your shared information. There are a number of key safeguards in place to ensure that your information is managed securely and accessed appropriately that include:

• Access to your shared information is strictly controlled by a system known as ‘Role Based Access Control’ (RBAC). This means that only health and care professionals that have a legitimate reason to see your information have access to it in their electronic record system

• All information collected about you is governed by the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation 2016, which requires us to put in place measures to keep it safe

• Health and care organisations have a responsibility to audit records of access on a regular basis and to review data sharing systems. The electronic systems that record your information within each service must pass all the latest data security and protection requirements defined by NHS Digital and the Department of Health and Social Care.

Who is responsible for keeping my information safe?

All NHS and social care organisations are governed by the General Data Protection Regulation 2016, which means they are responsible for your information and must keep it safe. Information about you is also protected under the Data Protection Act 2018.

If you have a concern about an inaccurate record, this can only be addressed by the “data controller” for that piece of information. The data controller is the organisation who holds the original information in your care record – for example, if a hospital has recorded an incorrect medical diagnosis for you, then you need to approach the hospital concerned to have this information reviewed and amended if necessary.

Is my information secure?

Yes, Connecting your Care can only be accessed over a secure network by those with the correct authorisation to log in and see it.

Who is managing the Connecting Your Care system?

Connecting your Care is jointly developed and managed by all health care provider organisations in south west London and is coordinated by South West London Health and Care Partnership.

The system operates via the Cerner Health Information Exchange (HIE) platform. Cerner is the company that owns the hospital patient record systems in Croydon University Hospital, Kingston University Hospital and St George University Hospital. Each of these hospitals have contracts in place to manage their own IT system, of which Connecting your Care is a part.

Epsom and St Helier hospital has a different system, which will be connected to the Connecting your Care view but will not be sending information to it in this phase of the programme.

Will my information be sold to the private sector?

No. Information about you will not be shared with or sold to private companies.

What is the timescale for the Connecting your Care programme?

Connecting your Care will be phased in over the next few months, with additional work with other health and social care providers to share a more detailed care record for you to continue through 2019-2020.

Can I see my own information online?

Not yet, but this is something we are keen to introduce at a later stage once all the health and care organisations have been connected.

If you want to find out what information an organisation has about you, you can find this out by making a Subject Access Request to the individual organisation. For more information about making a Subject Access Request visit this website https://ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/your-right-of-access/.

 

Will social services use the information they can see in the connected-care view when assessing my benefits claims?

No, information will only ever used for the delivery of personal care.

Is this the same as Summary Care Record (SCR)?

No, the national Summary Care Record is not the same. Connecting your Care in south west London will provide a more detailed view of your health and care records from a broader range of organisations that might be caring for you.

If I have already opted out of the Summary Care Record will this automatically apply to my connected care record?

No, you will need to let us know if you want to opt out of the Connecting your Care system. Opt out requests from other information sharing programmes cannot be carried forward. Please see What if I want to opt out? for more information.

I’m new to the area – can I join Connecting Your Care?

If you are registered with a participating GP practice, or are receiving care from any of the other participating organisations in south west London, then you will automatically be joined to the system.

Who can I contact for more information?

For more information about Connecting your Care, please feel free to contact us by:

Email: connectingyourcare@swlondon.nhs.uk

Phone:  0203 668 3100