Information sharing, that will improve the lives of people across Sunderland, is being rolled out by health professionals.

All Together Better Sunderland, a new programme that brings together teams of care professionals in the city, has taken its latest steps to better coordinate care, by working with healthcare teams to sign and seal an agreement that will ensure easier access to information that will improve care.

The agreement – which patients can opt out of – means that health professionals, who each currently hold their own independent set of medical records, will now be able to view relevant information held by other health professionals, allowing them to care for patients with a greater understanding of their health and wellbeing.

The new confidential system gives healthcare staff access to only the level of information they need to effectively do their job, so, for example, a community matron has a different level of access to a physiotherapist, ensuring relevant information is shared appropriately.

It removes duplication, meaning people only have to tell their story once and the new way of working will help deliver joined up and safer care; free up professionals to spend more time on care and will allow for better-informed decision-making. Information is currently shared by phone; email; fax and on paper, but the new system speeds up the whole process and, most importantly, is secure.

Local GP and a clinical lead on the information-sharing project, Dr Fadi Khalil, said: “Electronic data sharing is safer, more secure and most of all sensible. All Together Better has brought together teams of professionals who are now working closer than ever to deliver patient- focused care for people in Sunderland. Add to this improved sharing of relevant records, and the result will be a standard of care that not only improves lives, but could even save them.

“We know that electronic sharing of information is the future. It really will transform care in the city and we are delighted to be rolling this out – as part of the All Together Better programme – and setting a standard that other parts of the country can learn from and hopefully implement themselves in time.”