What is the Great North Care Record?

The Great North Care Record is a new way of sharing medical information across the North East and North Cumbria which is accessed by health and social care practitioners.  It means that key information about your health such as diagnoses, medications, details of hospitals admissions and treatments is shared between different healthcare services including hospitals, out of hours and ambulance services.

This Patient Leaflet is also available at local GP surgeries.

When will my Great North Care Record be accessed?

If you are receiving treatment, the people treating you will ask your permission to access your record.  Your record will only be accessed with your permission. You have the choice at the point of care, or you can opt out of the programme all together if you would prefer.

Who accesses the Great North Care Record?

Currently, accident and emergency departments, ambulance service, 111 services and out of hours in the North East and North Cumbria can access a read-only version of your GP record – with your permission. Access to health information is highly protected and safely stored. Only clinicians who have the right level of clearance are able to access your health information and their access is fully auditable.

Work is beginning to provide a view of more of your record from across NHS and social care organisations, again, this will only be accessed with your permission.

How does the Great North Care Record benefit me as a patient?

Historically, each organisation involved in your care such as your GP, local hospital, physiotherapy department or ambulance service holds small pieces of information about you – but no one has an overall view of your entire medical history.  This is one reason why health and care practitioners often ask you the same questions over and over, or repeat the same tests.

With the Great North Care Record, the team treating you will have access to detailed clinical information from different organisations. This information is only accessed with your permission and gives healthcare professionals a broader picture of your medical history.

With the Great North Care Record, these vital details are available securely, electronically and in real time.

How to opt out

We understand that not all patients are comfortable with their information being shared in this way.  We have made it really easy to opt out of your information being shared between healthcare practitioners – visit our Opt out page to find out more.

Opting out is your choice. As this project is separate to other information sharing projects such as the Summary Care Record and TPP SystmOne sharing, you need to opt out of each project individually. Opting out of the Great North Care Record only prevents your information being shared locally between healthcare services.

What do clinicians in our region think about the Great North Care Record?

Dr Jay Vasani – a Consultant Gastroenterologist and Chief Clinical Information Officer at North Tees and Hartlepool shares his view on how his trust can provide better, safer care.

Watch this video from local GP Dr Mark Dornan who explains how better sharing of information has helped one patient.

Dr Deepak Dwarakanth, Medical Director at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust on how the introduction of digital healthcare records has improved treatment and safety for patients.

Can I see my information or could someone ask to see it on my behalf?


You have the right under the Data Protection Act 1998 to request access to any information that organisations like the NHS hold about you. This includes copies of paper and electronic records.

For more information about how to view your health care records, contact your GP.

To discuss receiving information in other formats (e.g. other languages, Braille, audio and large print), speak to Patient Advice and Liaison Services on Freephone 0800 015 1548.

As part of the Great North Care Record, we are creating a way of patients being able to access their records too. This is under development.

How do you prevent the information in my record being used inappropriately?

NHS healthcare information, like all confidential patient data, will not be made public, used for advertising or sold.
The same applies to this information. Existing codes of conduct for NHS staff mean they must respect patient privacy and keep all information about patients safe.  Failure to do so would be viewed as a serious offence by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Could information be shared more widely?

The Great North Care Record initiative is working to bring together separate medical record systems, rather than creating a new system. It provides a snapshot of records from elsewhere in the care system.

Use of this information is already governed by regulations to protect patient confidentiality. The NHS understands the importance of keeping your details safe, and takes security of confidential information very seriously.

Qualified staff are also regulated by their own professional codes of conduct which state that confidential patient data should not be accessed without an appropriate reason, made public, used for advertising or sold.

Although extremely rare, there are times when information can be passed on.  These apply to existing electronic and paper systems as well as any future developments through the Great North Care Record.

This includes:

  • Where personal data is disclosed for the purposes of crime prevention or taxation, this is exempt under the Data Protection Act 1998. This would need to be considered on a case by case basis, and the exemption only allows the disclosure, rather than requiring it.A data controller (the person who would authorise the release of any information) would, if challenged, need to justify to the Information Commissioner’s Office or a court why the information was released. There would need to be clear evidence, rather than simply a suspicion, before any details could be passed on to appropriate organisations for any further investigations. More information about how we handle information is available here.
  • The General Medical Council has guidance for clinical staff about disclosing information – to protect individuals or society from the risk of serious harm, such as serious communicable diseases or serious crime, for example.
  • NHS Digital also has information about how NHS staff should handle sensitive information.
  • You are entitled to see information about you held by NHS organisations. More information is available on the NHS Choices website.

I am a parent/guardian or have power of attorney over someone and I don’t want their records to be made available. What do I need to do?

You can request that someone you are responsible for is opted out. This request will be considered by your GP, who will make the final decision.

While your GP will respect your views and may wish to discuss them with you, they could decide that it is right that details are shared – usually on the grounds of patient safety and providing the most appropriate care.

What about patients/clients who do not have the mental capacity to understand the Great North Care Record or the opt-out process?

If you are a guardian, carer or have power of attorney, you will have two choices:

As health professionals, we believe that better sharing of information will mean safer care, so we hope that most people will remain opted in.

If a guardian, carer or person with power of attorney requests to have someone opted out of record sharing, their request will be considered by the patient’s GP, who would make the final decision in the patient’s best interests.


There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) 1.) property and affairs (including financial matters) and 2.) health and care (including healthcare and consent to medical treatment). An LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before it can be used.
Attorneys must meet the requirements set out in the Mental Capacity Act. The Code of Practice states that, most importantly, they must follow the statutory principles ( and make decisions in the best interests of the person who lacks capacity to make that specific decision.

Sometimes it may be necessary to make an application to the Court of Protection for more difficult decisions, where disagreements can’t be resolved or where ongoing decisions need to be made.

The Court of Protection is the specialist Court which was established under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 for all issues relating to people who lack capacity to make specific decisions for themselves. It can make decisions on whether people have capacity in relation to particular decisions, make decisions on their behalf, appoint or remove people who make decisions on people’s behalf, and make decisions relating to Lasting Powers of Attorney or Enduring Powers of Attorney. See for more information.