Our view on the NHS England Long Term Plan

Girl looking through telescope to the future

At Great North Care Record, we welcome the NHS Long Term Plan which was published earlier this week.

We have had a chance to digest the 130 pages + and see the very clear links between the ambitions for the health service from the centre, and how this closely aligns to the work we are doing on the ground in the North East and North Cumbria.

Much of The Plan* is underpinned by the need for better digital services which not only help improve patient care and streamline services. Digital technology allows us to intervene earlier and take preventative action with at-risk patient groups, and allows patients with long term conditions to self-monitor and report back to the teams treating them. The wide-spread adoption and roll out of technology is moving exponentially faster now than it ever has. And we have to not only keep up – but lead.

There are the basics – giving the public access to their ENTIRE medical record. Not just the bit at the GP, but bring the whole record – with data from across the NHS, the voluntary sector and social services. Enable patients to access this record too – an input their own data, such as blood sugar readings or weight. We want to unlock the data currently sitting in clinical IT systems across our region, and make this accessible (with the appropriate permission) to researchers to support life sciences.

Reading the priorities outlined in the plan – we thought we would make a start on showing how we are supporting NHS England in achieving them.

NHS England priority

Great North Care Record

Create straightforward digital access to NHS services, and help patients and their carers manage their health.

The region is working together to procure one central patient portal where the public will be able to access their Great North Care Record. This will be the front door to their integrated care record and will allow them to view and input their own data and to allow them to manage their health.


Ensure that clinicians can access and interact with patient records and care plans wherever they are.

We are in the process of procuring a regional Care and Health Information Exchange (CHIE). This is the regional infrastructure which will allow data to be exchanged two-way between health and care providers. We expect to make an announcement on the successful supplier this Spring and work to connect the first organisations will begin shortly after. We will work with care pathways to ensure they are CHIE-ready.


Use decision support and artificial intelligence (AI) to help clinicians in applying best practice, eliminate unwarranted variation across the whole pathway of care, and support patients in managing their health and condition.

This is identified as a key priority for our Integrated Care System. Whilst we are not directly responsible for this, decision support tools are reliant on access to good quality data which we will put in place (with the appropriate permission) for research to take place.


Use predictive techniques to support local health systems to plan care for populations.

As part of our work with Connected Health Cities, we have funded work looking at predictive analytics. With our partners we have experience of working through the governance, the technical, legal and ethical frameworks to flow data so that we can learn to make predictions. We are testing the analytics platform (known as a Trusted Research Environment) where this next stratosphere of data analytics is possible.


Use intuitive tools to capture data as a by-product of care in ways that empower clinicians and reduce the administrative burden.

Our mantra is that digital services need to be useful, usable and used. Our programme is clinically-led so we know that having to access disparate systems to find bits of information is a sure-fire way to kill your IT project. The CHIE will integrate within existing clinical systems – allowing clinicians to see the whole picture, quickly and easily.


Protect patients’ privacy and give them control over their medical record.

We have extensively researched what people in our region expect in terms of their privacy and what controls they would like to have over their data. We are building a tool to allow the public to set their own data sharing preferences. This will be available as part of the patient portal and will be a central place for people to update or adjust their preference settings.


Link clinical, genomic and other data to support the development of new treatments to improve the NHS, making data captured for care available for clinical research, and publish, as open data, aggregate metrics about NHS performance and services.

Our vision for the Great North Care Record is to make the North East and North Cumbria the best place to do research. By asking the public for consent to be contacted to participate in clinical trials, or to have their data analysed by researchers, mean that we can support life sciences sector to discover new insights and treatments based on the most advanced data.


Ensure NHS systems and NHS data are secure through implementation of security, monitoring systems and staff education.

The security settings and protocols we will set up as part of the regional sharing infrastructure will meet NHS standards. The system will be fully auditable so both clinicians and the public can see who has accessed their record.


Mandate and rigorously enforce technology standards (as described in The Future of Healthcare) to ensure data is interoperable and accessible.


You’re not getting on our CHIE if you don’t meet the interoperability standards. Simple really.
Encourage a world leading health IT industry in England with a supportive environment for software developers and innovators. We will continue to work with a range of familiar suppliers, to local SMEs to provide our services.

Capital vs revenue

Our final call to arms to NHS England is to put much of this rhetoric into practice. Enable us to build better digital services which meet the needs of the public by funding them in such a way that we can procure the right technology.

Create funding in new ways – so that we can purchase licences to cloud-based services rather than buying large bits of IT kit quickly and in a hurry from the same old suppliers. What will enable this Plan – is by providing the ‘right sort’ of money and moving us away from the motorway infrastructure way of funding – to the shiny bright, digital future we are heading for.

In ten years-time, it will look different. And we, in the North East and North Cumbria will be at the forefront.

*Yeah, even capped up the The

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