DH To Survey Electronic Social Care Record Progress

The Department of Health (DH) is to carry out a survey on how the Electronic Social Care Record (ESCR) is developing around the country. The survey, carried out on behalf of the DH’s ESCR Implementation Group, will aim to see what progress is being made by local authorities and form the basis of further work on the ESCR. David Johnstone, co-chair of the ESCR implementation group and director of adult and community services at Devon County Council, told EHI Primary Care that it was hoped the survey would be launched in September with analysis of the results available from mid–October.

He added: “In some areas the ESCR is well-developed and you have got an electronic platform and in other areas it’s not developed. We want to look at see what is happening and what are the strengths and weaknesses so far.”

Johnstone said the ESCR Implementation Group would use the results of the survey to see what lessons needed to be learned and to develop national standards and guidance for the ESCR.

The ESCR implementation group is a sub-group of Connecting for Health’s Care Record Development Board and is responsible for links between the ESCR, the NHS Care Records Service and the Children’s Index.

The DH is also a co-sponsor of a study to be carried out by The Information Centre for health and social care (IC), which will focus for the first time on the work of the whole practice; including GPs, nurses, physiotherapists, managers, community nurses, receptionists and other support staff.

Family doctors and health teams at around 4,000 GP practices across the UK are being encouraged to take part in the survey that gives them the opportunity to provide up to date information about the way their practice works.

Carried out by the IC’s technical steering committee on behalf of the British Medical Association (BMA), NHS Employers and the Department of Health (DH), the survey will take place in two phases in September and December. The aim  will collect up to date information on the distribution of work for all the different groups of staff. Participants will be invited to complete a short questionnaire and a diary sheet to record the amounts of time spent on different activities at the practice for a one week period.

The previous workload survey, which took place in 1992/93, covered the work of GPs only.