Armed Forces and NHS Digital explore electronic transfer of health records

Written by Sam Trendall on 23 January 2019 in News

GP records of army recruits will be transferred digitally to Defence Medical Services (DMS) – the umbrella organisation for all medical and dental personnel across the Army, Navy, and RAF

Image credit: PA

The Armed Forces and NHS Digital are working together to explore the electronic transfer of the primary healthcare records of new army recruits.

In evidence given last week to the Public Accounts Committee, Lt Gen Richard Nugee, chief of defence people at the Ministry of Defence, told MPs that the Armed Forces had recently reached agreement with NHS Digital on a proposed new data-sharing arrangement.

In the near future, according to Nugee, the GP records of army recruits will be transferred digitally to Defence Medical Services (DMS) – the umbrella organisation for all medical and dental personnel across the Army, Navy, and RAF. Because DMS is not part of the NHS, individual GPs must currently sign off the transfer of patient records and then send them through the post, he added, which often “takes a very long time”.

This slows down the speed with which the Army can enrol new soldiers by delaying the necessary medical screening of recruits conducted by DMS, according to Nugee.

 “By getting the NHS to agree that we are a bona fide GP, to all intents and purposes, they can now transfer records, because doing so between GPs within the NHS is relatively easy – because it is all one system,” he said. “We will shortly get NHS Digital records that we can look at much more quickly. It is absolutely something we have recognised – [that] how long it is taking is unacceptable.”

Holyrood’s sister site, PublicTechnology, understands that work is still at an exploratory stage, and that the seamless transfer will only be possible after further progress on the MoD’s Cortisone project to equip DMS with a new medical information system.

The project is intended to bring together a range of off-the-shelf products and create an integrated electronic record system, covering the primary and secondary care, mental health, occupational health, dental, and rehabilitation data of forces personnel.

Launched in late 2015, Cortisone was reset in the autumn of 2017, after the MoD chose not to award a key contract covering certain evaluation and integration work.

According to a high-level design plan published last year by the government, once the project reaches fruition, the new system “will provide DMS with an integrated and flexible capability that enables the business to realise a digital transformation in the delivery of healthcare within defence”.

Development and delivery work on Cortisone is ongoing – supported by NHS Digital. A timeline published by the MoD last year estimates that a “primary care solution” will go live in the second half of 2019.  Once this system is fully operational, the Armed Forces will then be able to access and port over electronic GP records as described by Nugee, it is understood.

DMS and NHS Digital have worked together for about 10 years, during which time the two have been able to establish a degree of connection between NHS and Armed Forces systems. This has permitted the electronic transfer of certain information, including referrals and test results.

Tags

Categories

Related Articles

Highland projects aim to tackle rural suicide
11 April 2019

Projects in the Highlands aim to tackle the problem of suicide in remote and rural areas. 

Associate feature: Working together
28 February 2019

Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s new chair Carole Wilkinson is the embodiment of integration

Scottish Borders Council considers creating a single public authority for Scottish Borders
20 September 2018

Under the proposals, which will be discussed next week, a new single authority would initially encompass the Council and NHS Borders

Related Sponsored Articles

Balancing security and digital transformation
24 October 2018

With the annual worldwide cost of cybercrime set to double from $3tn in 2015 to $6tn by 2021, BT offers advice on how chief information security officers can better...

Associate feature: Who keeps your organisation secure?
19 February 2018

BT's Amy Lemberger argues that having the right security in place to protect your organisation is no longer just an option. It is a necessity.

Associate feature: 5 ways IoT is transforming the public sector
5 February 2018

Vodafone explores some of the ways IoT is significantly improving public sector service delivery

Associate feature: The age of the multi-cloud is here
7 May 2019

BT explores how to manage the risks and rewards of the cloud in their infographic guide, offering advice for ensuring that the challenges don't hold you back 

Share this page