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New County-Wide Child Health Information System Rolled Out in Cheshire, Connecting to National Child Health Service.

21st May 2020

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

This was a major deployment, achieved during Covid-19 lockdown, and 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 the five-year contract for the Cheshire and Merseyside Child Health Information Services to NHS SCW Commissioning Support Unit (SCW)* from April 2020. NHS England and NHS Improvement (Northwest) has commissioned SCW to create a single child health information system (CHIS) service that combines six existing Cheshire and Merseyside CHIS, so that all child health data is managed safely and securely in one place.

Phases two and three of the project will see Liverpool & Sefton, St Helens & Knowsley, Wirral, and Warrington come on board with the new solution later in the year. On completion the unified record will manage a population of 558,673 children.

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.

This means that from the outset, care teams will receive notifications about births, changes of address, change of GP practice, deaths and the three screening events (newborn and infant physical examinations, hearing and bloodspot outcomes).

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 has 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.

Sue Trinder, child health information services director, 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.”

South, Central and West CSU were awarded the five-year contract in October 2019. System C won the contract to supply its CarePlus child health information system shortly after.

The scope of the service will involve combining records and services across ten CCGS, 9 local authorities, 18 specialist, acute and community trusts, 392 general practices and six legacy child health information systems.

Markus Bolton, joint chief executive of System C, commented,

“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.”

* SCW is an NHS support service that helps health and social care organisations deliver the best possible care to people.  SCW are partners of choice to over 200 organisations that support millions of people across England.