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Cheshire deploys digital child health system during lockdown

Commissioning support unit joins up records of children across county into one integrated digital system, despite pandemic challenges

South Central and West Commissioning Support Unit (CSU) has rolled out an integrated child health system across Cheshire during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The CSU has deployed the CarePlus child health information system from System C, which joins up the records of children across the region in one place, and links up with the national child health service.

The CSU signed a five-year contract for the system in October 2019, and planned for an April 2020 roll-out. Despite the lockdown and challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, it still decided to go ahead with the roll-out, which has seen 176,000 children’s records from six different child health information systems integrated.

This is only the first phase of the project. The system is due to be rolled out across all of Cheshire and Merseyside, with child records from Liverpool & Sefton, St Helens & Knowsley, Wirral, and Warrington being joined up later this year.

Sue Trinder, child health information services director at South Central and West CSU, said the deployment owed thanks to everyone involved in getting it online by the 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,” she said.

Because of the lockdown, any training on the new system has had to be conducted via video, and floor walks, in which staff are given immediate assistance on how to use the system, have also been done remotely.

Once all phases of the roll-out are complete, the new system will have combined the records and services from 10 clinical commissioning groups, nine local councils, 18 NHS trusts, 392 GP practices and six legacy child health information systems.

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It will also include links to the National Event Management Service (NEMS) launched by NHS England and NHS Digital last year. CarePlus is one of three child health systems nationwide that link to NEMS.

The system shares event alerts with care professionals, which means staff will receive notifications about screenings, GP practice changes, address changes and births.

In March 2020, Surrey also deployed the CarePlus system, which combined the legacy systems of six clinical commissioning groups in addition to the county’s three NHS providers – First Community Health and Care, Surrey and Borders NHS Partnership Trust, and CSH Surrey.

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