Hebrides at forefront of national development

The Outer Hebrides is leading the way on a new community protection initiative – Single Shared Assessments.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and NHS Western Isles will soon be introducing the new secure scheme which allows public agencies to share information for the benefit of service users once they have given consent.

Based on national legislation issued by the Scottish Government, the Outer Hebrides will be one of the first Scottish areas to launch the robust new service, which will allow more communication between the Comhairle and NHS WI in order to provide the best possible care for their service users – including in vital areas such as Child Protection.

The project is being driven by the Outer Hebrides Data Sharing Partnership which has representation from NHS Western Isles, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Northern Constabulary and the local voluntary sector, although initially information will only be shared between NHS Western Isles and the Comhairle.

Both of these agencies have signed up to an information sharing protocol which ensures client confidentiality and Data Protection. No information will be shared, either electronically or through more ‘traditional’ means, unless the patient or client has given their informed consent for this to happen.

The only exceptions to this will be where there is a statutory obligation to share information such as with Child Protection.

Later, in February/March 2010, the Partnership will provide the ability to share Single Shared Assessments for adults electronically between Health and CNES practitioners where patients and clients have given their consent.

This will mean that relevant staff from both agencies will have a more up-to-date picture of the most recent assessments done for their patients and clients, even if they were carried out by partner agencies.

This is the first step in a developing national programme to make more effective use of technology when dealing with the sick and the elderly while at the same time easing the burden on an already stretched Community Care service and allowing public agencies to work more closely together

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