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Shared care record is helping Black Country protect vulnerable adults and children – by providing key information instantly.

14 May 2024

Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hubs (MASH) across the Black Country have reported that access to the One Health and Care shared care record has made it significantly faster and easier to make safeguarding decisions about vulnerable adults and children.  

One Health and Care brings together separate records held by different local providers of health and social care – such as hospitals and GPs – in one secure, easy to read format.  

Where concerns about significant harm to a child arise, Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hubs (MASH) provide the ability to share information and make joint decisions about appropriate and proportionate interventions to maintain safety. They often need information from GPs, hospitals, social care, and other organisations and agencies, to make informed decisions about interventions. 

In the past, gathering information could take several days, as MASH teams would have to rely on responses from GPs, hospitals and other third parties, via phone and email. Now, with access to the shared care record, it is instant.  

There are four MASH teams in the Black Country – at Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, Walsall Metropolitan Council, and the City of Wolverhampton Council. Access to the shared care record went live in Walsall first, in April 2023, with the other councils following suit soon after.

Maria Kilcoyne, Associate Director of Nursing for Safeguarding and Partnerships, NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board, explained: 

Being able to view the shared care record means we can make informed decisions in a timely manner, which is critical for the MASH teams. Depending on the level of perceived risk, provision of information within tight time constraints is essential to multi-agency decision making. That means we need to get our hands on health and care information about the individual very quickly. The shared care record means we have all of the right information at the right time.

Walsall recently completed an evaluation, which asked MASH nurses to share their thoughts on the shared care record. 100% said that it is assisting in gathering GP health information more quickly than previously; 100% said that it enables them to collate a broader range of health information.

Lesa Robinson, Assistant Designated Nurse Safeguarding Children and Adults, Walsall, said:

The shared care record has been a gamechanger and is making a real difference to the people of the Black Country in terms of safety and wellbeing. For example, we know how important it is to view healthcare attendances that may have taken place outside of someone's usual area. With the shared care record, we can see all of those different acute trust attendances. The record also crosses over with the surrounding regions – Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, and Shropshire Telford and Wrekin – which gives us even greater visibility.

The plan moving forward is to continue enhancing and extending how One Health and Care is used to protect and support vulnerable people.