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Paramedics will soon be able to access the mental health crisis plans of emergency patients while on the move, following the successful first pilot phase of the National Record Locator.
The pilot gave ambulance staff in pilot areas the ability to see whether someone they were treating had a mental health crisis plan, joining up services and helping patients get the best possible care. Now it will expand, giving paramedics the crisis plan itself so that they can make the right clinical decisions on the ground instead of taking the patient to A&E units or referring back to other health professionals who have access to the information.
NHS Digital says that the first full record retrieval will take place in November, with an additional three mental health trusts joining the nine trusts already involved with the first phase.
Mike Walker, head of the Integrating Care programme at NHS Digital said: “This pilot has so far been a fabulous success, with over 85,000 mental health crisis plan pointers added to the database across the country since last December, so that ambulance staff are less in the dark about the people they’re on their way to help.
“Now we’ve proven that the technology works, it’s time to open it up, to new areas of specialism, new settings: putting the clinical information itself into the hands of those that need it. Our ambulance staff do a fantastic job, handling real-life emergencies every single day. Having access to the right information at the right time will mean fewer wasted trips to overstretched A&Es and better care for patients.”
The next phase of the pilot will also see digital child health records shared by child health organisations and health visiting services, as care is transferred from one service to another. Pointers will be added for digital maternity services in successful pilot areas next year, flagging where expectant mothers are receiving care elsewhere. Mental health nurses will be able to access records when working in the community with the police, to promote joined up service provision and appropriate care.
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