Sunderland is first to connect health and social care data

Health and social care services in Sunderland are the first in the North East and North Cumbria to securely view and share vital medical information.

Hospitals, GPs, community services, mental health specialists and adult social care all hold different electronic records about patients. This means that people are often asked the same questions at various points in their health and care journey.  To rectify this, the Great North Care Record project safely and securely connects patient information across a range of health and social care organisations throughout the North East and North Cumbria.

Since its launch last year, the Great North Care Record has already enabled over 400 GPs, five NHS Trusts and the North East Ambulance Service to share records with frontline staff. These services have begun to securely share information such as medications, hospital visits, referrals and letters, but most recently staff working in adult social care have started to share and view information.

Sunderland City Council is the first local authority in the North East and North Cumbria area to implement the system. This will now link local NHS and adult social care services in Sunderland together as part of the Great North Care Record project.

The city’s health and social care system already works closely in partnership through All Together Better, Sunderland, an alliance of health and social care providers, local commissioners and the voluntary sector to deliver personalised, proactive and joined-up care for people in Sunderland. This collaborative approach is already working successfully across Sunderland and has certainly paved the way for the city to be the first in the region to sign up to the Great North Care Record.

The aspiration is that patient information will be available from all primary care practices, NHS Trusts and local authorities across the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System.

The Great North Care Record means that frontline staff can now connect the pieces of the puzzle together to make a complete picture about their patients – meaning improved care for the 3.6milllion people living in the region.

Steve Cram OBE and brand ambassador for the Great North Care Record said:

“I have personal experience from both my parents living with health conditions in later life, which is why I have chosen to support the Great North Care Record. Having something like this back then, instead of bouncing between different services and having to go over a complicated medical history would have made a tremendous difference to the care they received. I fully support the work the project is doing and am delighted that Sunderland gets to benefit first.”

Dr Raj Bethapudi, GP Partner and chief clinical information officer at Sunderland CCG said:

“’GP records typically hold the most information about patients. Sharing a summary of records with other health and social care colleagues will help to provide more joined-up care to our patients. Colleagues in other organisations can only access records when they have a clear reason to do so, and patients can choose to opt out at any time.”

Emma Anderson, Head of Therapies at Sunderland City Council, said:

“We are delighted to not only be able to access information about the people we care for, but also begin sharing more information with our health colleagues. It has been challenging trying to find out information about our clients. For instance, we wouldn’t always know if a client has been admitted to hospital without having to making lots of telephone calls to try and track them down. Having access to this information, with the patient’s permission means we can be sure we are offering them the most appropriate care.”

Dr Kevin Joisce, Consultant in Emergency Medicine and Chief Clinical Information Officer at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust said:

“Our patients are often admitted to Gateshead or Newcastle hospitals. Now the staff caring for them will know about their past medical history from Sunderland.

“Accessing the Great North Care Record has proved invaluable in emergency care because we can quickly find out about their past medication, investigations and treatment plans.”

To find out more, please visit, call the helpline on 0344 811 9587 or email


Notes for Editors: About Great North Care Record

The Great North Care Record makes information more widely available and accessible to support frontline care, individual self-management, planning and research, so that:

  • Professionals and carers can have legitimate access to the right information at the point of need, ensuring our population get better, safer care regardless of setting or organisation.
  • Access to information will be improved, allowing individuals to better understand and manage their own wellbeing and care.
  • It will ultimately lead to better data access and analytics, allowing better population health planning based on demand, and enabling the development and deployment of more innovative treatments in the future.
  • The Health Information Exchange is one of three modules of the Great North Care Record.   Coming in early 2021, patients will be able to start accessing hospital records through the NHS App. The third and final module being population health management and research which will support proactively managing the health and wellbeing of our local communities. @GreatNorthCare on Twitter, @GreatNorthCareRecord on Facebook or @GreatNorthCare on Instagram.

Media contacts and interview requests

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Steve Cram OBE
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