Ever wondered why, when you visit your GP or a hospital, you find yourself having to answer the same old questions over and over – questions like what medicines you take and whether you have any allergies? 

The reason is because different health and care providers use different computer systems to record your details. Because these systems don’t talk to each other, the organisations looking after you can’t see the information each other holds on you. 

But that is set to be a thing of the past, with the introduction of One Health and Care, a confidential NHS shared care record for the Black Country.

One Health and Care includes GP practices and their patients across West Birmingham as well as the Black Country, as this programme pre-dates the Health and Care Act. This will not affect any services patients receive from their local GP or NHS Trust.

One Health and Care is the NHS shared care record in the Black Country. It allows health and social care professionals directly involved in your care to view relevant information about you which is held by other parts of the NHS and social care.

It is already up and running in our neighbouring areas of Shropshire Telford and Wrekin, and Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. This means that if you’ve previously had treatment in these areas, any professional who is caring for you will be able to see that information too. 

Looking ahead, there are plans to join up One Health and Care with other local shared care records, making a comprehensive record for the West Midlands.

The organisations currently taking part in the programme are local health and care services: 

  • GP practices in the Black Country and West Birmingham
  • The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust 
  • Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust 
  • The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust 
  • Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust  
  • Dudley Integrated Health and Care Trust 
  • Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council 
  • Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council 
  • Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council 
  • City of Wolverhampton Council  
  • West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Health and care organisations in the neighbouring areas of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, and Shropshire Telford and Wrekin, will also be able to view your information for the purpose of giving you direct care should it be necessary. 

You don’t need to do anything. For anyone aged 18 or over who is registered with a GP in the Black Country, the change takes place automatically. 

Yes – you have the right to object at any time. We don’t recommend this, as it could affect your care in the long term if information is not easily available when needed, for example if you are admitted to a hospital emergency department and are too unwell to answer questions about things like your allergies and medications.  

Objecting will mean the services giving you care will be unable to view your records from other services. 

However, the decision is entirely yours. If you do want to object, visit your data, your rights.

You’ll find lots more information in our frequently asked questions. These will give you answers to some of the things you might still want to ask after reading our Fair Processing Notice. They’ll also cover new developments with the shared care record as and when they happen, explaining what these mean for you. 

An NHS shared care record is a way of bringing together all your separate records from the different organisations involved in your health and care. 

It allows health and social care professionals directly involved in your care to view relevant information about you which is held by other parts of the NHS and social care.

This means you only have to tell your story once, and our local health and care professionals have instant access to all the information they need to treat you in the fastest, safest and most effective way.

The first phase of One Health and Care in the Black Country and West Birmingham will allow health and care professionals to view appropriate information contained in: 

  • your GP practice medical record 
  • information from secondary care, including hospitals, mental health and community services 
  • radiology and pathology results 
  • maternity records 
  • social care information such as care plans and wishes. 

Being able to see this information will help them give you the best care as quickly as possible without having to make phone calls or wait for other organisations to forward details on. 

Some administrative and secretarial staff will also be able to see information so they can support the professionals, for example by sending you an appointment letter. 

All staff must follow the law on keeping your information confidential. Each time they look at your records this will be recorded to make sure they’re only looking at the right information, for the right reasons. 

We’ll bring together information from GPs and allow it to be seen by health professionals in hospitals, including emergency departments. And we’ll be adding information from community and social care, ambulance, and NHS 111 services. 

There are strict rules around how we use your information. Your data will only be managed and viewed in line with legal requirements, including UK data protection legislation (DPA 2018 and superseding legislation). Official inspections, or audits, will be carried out to check this is the case. 

In the longer term, selected information will be used confidentially to help services understand local health and care needs and find the best ways to meet them. This is not coming in right away, we’ll tell you when it does, and you will have the option to opt out of this part without affecting your care.

The benefits to you include: 

  • not having to repeat your details every time you need care.
  • better and potentially faster treatment as the professionals caring for you will be able to quickly see your records.
  • not having to explain your social care support to health professionals.
  • clinicians being able to see what medications you’re taking, what you’ve taken in the past, and if you have any allergies – making your treatment safer.

Our Fair Processing Notice sets out in detail the types of information that is recorded about you, why this is necessary and the ways in which this information may be used.

One Health and Care: Fair processing notice

If you’re unsure about anything, or have any questions we haven’t answered in the FAQs, please email comms.blackcountry@nhs.net

You can also contact us if you need this information in an alternative format, for example, braille, audio, easy read or your spoken language.