North London Partners in health and care

Bringing the benefits of joined up health and care records to Barnet

Initial reports from GPs on the launch of NCL’s electronic joined-up health and care records for north central London are positive.

Penshurst Gardens Surgery in Barnet, where the system first went live in July, has described it as a: "win, win, win, win."  That is: a win for patients who now have real-time access to their health records; a win for clinicians and health professionals in saving time and resources and improving decision-making; a win for administration staff in saving time wasted on chasing results and clinic letters; and a win for all healthcare organisations connecting primary and secondary care computer networks.

The joined-up records link the surgery’s existing electronic patient record system with the system at Royal Free and Barnet hospitals, meaning that health and care teams at both the surgery and hospital have access to critical patient medical information. Patients will not have to repeat their medical histories and vital health information, such as allergies, immunisations and test results can be viewed by health and care professionals. Test results and discharge summaries from hospital visits will also be available on the system, so that GPs have the right information to deliver better care to their patients.

The system first went live on Monday 1 July and toward the end of the month was being used approximately 20 times a day in just one surgery. There are now 15 GP surgeries in Barnet using the electronic joined-up records and more will go live throughout September. By early October all GPs in Barnet will have access to the records, saving them time and allowing quicker and better decision-making for, and with, patients.

Zuhaib Keekeebhai, chief clinical information office for NLP’s digital programme, explained the advantages to the GP and patient: “Having this information makes GPs more resilient as it reduces stress because you know what has happened to the patient.

“It means that you can be reassured that a referral has been received and action has been taken. You know if a patient has presented to the emergency department or admitted with access to any investigation results from these encounters.

“All of this means that when a patient is seen the relevant information is available to the GP. This enables them to have an informed discussion with the patient and be in a better position to make joint decisions.”

Dr Holz, Penshurst Gardens Surgery GP, added: "It means that the time you spend with a patient is focussed on them, you don't have to defer decisions to 'wait and see'. As there is less waiting and delays this helps reduce a patient’s anxiety.  It also saves GPs time as you don't have to make unnecessary follow-up appointments for patients or spend time on the phone chasing referrals." 

Deployment has also started in other boroughs in north central London with Islington and Enfield being the next boroughs to go live with electronic joined-up health and care records.

More information on what the joined-up records mean for health and care professionals and residents go to