HEALTH chiefs have agreed to improve how they share data about patients to end disjointed care and prevent people having to repeatedly explain their symptoms.

A briefing presented to Oldham’s health and wellbeing board stated that information sharing is a “critical enabler” for delivering high quality care.

It stated that historically there have been difficulties in the way data gets shared between organisations in the borough, but work is underway to tackle these.

Report author Donna McLaughlin told members they are also trying to work with other authorities in the region in a more combined way.

“There are issues around sharing data between organisations, that includes between a GP and hospitals, sometimes that means patients have to repeat what they said to one person or they could miss vital information,” she said.

“There’s a supplementary conversation around, for example if we held information that could be important like police data how we could look at that to think how we could join up services.

“How do we make sure we have all the information we need to have about the patient at the point in which they need to make a critical decision – and as a leadership team, how do we really know and understand our communities.”

She told members it signified “how important” it was for the health bodies to get systems in place to share patient data to support their care, but also so they can work strategically to put community initiatives in place.

Cabinet member for health and social care, Cllr Zahid Chauhan, added: “It’s a very important and crucial step from an Oldham point of view, having a data sharing agreement, using a wider knowledge of Greater Manchester and the rest of the UK.

“That’s something we should be celebrating because that’s the foundation which we are laying for the future, joined up working for the patients.

“Now is the time to build up on that and its exciting plans for the future.”

Cllr Amanda Chadderton, portfolio holder for children’s services, said: “The principle of it sounds extremely positive.

“In regards to child social care we had an incident recently where a child was placed out of borough and then they came back in but our sharing cross borough was really poor and then something happened.”

Chief executive and accountable officer at the Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group, Carolyn Wilkins added they are looking to extend the data sharing system to the care sector as well.

A number of “key actions” have already taken place in three areas; data sharing, risk stratification and population health and “digital strategy”.

And an additional strategy for Oldham needs to be submitted to Greater Manchester health and social care partnership in July.