The changes mean that a unique NHS Number will be used to share information about individual patients. Health professionals will be required to update a patient’s history so that the next professional who comes into contact with the patient has as much information as possible.
Many of the patient groups that we represent have a long journey to diagnosis, and complex, ongoing needs. If professionals do not have the full information about a patient’s history, at best they may have to get patients to retell their story, duplicating work and wasting precious time, and at worst patient safety may be compromised. The effective sharing of information is invaluable in giving a timely, safe and well joined up service as patients pass between professionals and institutions.
This new regulation enshrines existing good practice in law. While passing on information vital to the care of a patient appears common sense, formalising this means that health care providers must be committed to information sharing when working with others to provide care.