Transformation Directorate

This guidance has been reviewed by the Health and Care Information Governance Panel, including the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and National Data Guardian (NDG).

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Information Governance Framework: Shared Care Records

IG framework - shared care records

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Download the framework (PDF, 1.6 MB)

Shared Care Records and information sharing

Shared Care Records, previously called Local Health and Care Records, are being introduced across England. These will allow people involved in your care to access your health and care records safely and securely so that they can provide better joined-up care as you move between different parts of the health and social care system. You can read more about Shared Care Records on the NHS England website.  

NHS England has set out how health and care information should be accessed and managed in the Information Governance Framework for Integrated Health and Care: Part 1 - Shared Care Records. This will help each area which is implementing Shared Care Records to demonstrate they are looking after information in accordance with good practice and the law. Each Shared Care Record area will need to demonstrate to an independent panel that they comply with the requirements set out in the framework.

Guidance for patients and service users

Shared Care Records are coming at different times in different areas of the country, but everyone will eventually benefit. This means that those caring for you will be able to access the information they need to provide care and in real time, for example, you might attend A&E in the morning and be discharged with advice to see your GP in the afternoon. Your GP will be able to see what happened in A&E by the time you see them.

Being able to access information about your health and care will help professionals provide you with better, safer and more effective care. 

Your local area will be engaging and communicating about these changes. This means that the views of your local community can help shape how Shared Care Records are delivered in your area. A requirement of the IG Framework is that each area must show proof that they are providing information to you about these changes and the public engagement which has taken place.

As part of these communications, your local NHS and social care providers will need to tell you about your choices. That includes explaining that you have a legal right to object to your data being part of the Shared Care Record. Your objection will be considered locally on a case by case basis.  Health and care professionals will take into account whether they can access the right information to provide you with high quality, safe care when considering your objection. 

You will also be able to ask to see which health and care professionals have accessed your health and care record and their reasons for doing so. Local guidance will set out how you can find this information out from your local health and care providers.

The information which may be included in Shared Care Records has been widely consulted on with patients, carers and health and care professionals.  This involved more than 1,500 individuals and organisations. Only those who are involved in your care will have access to your record and they will only access the information they need to know.   

Each organisation that provides health and care services will take every step to keep your data secure. This IG Framework includes a section on data security as well as specific guidance on cyber security. 

Guidance for healthcare workers

As a health and care professional you should be aware that Shared Care Records (previously referred to as Local Health and Care Records) are being implemented across England. Shared Care Records will help health and care professionals share information safely and securely to improve care for people using services.  Some areas have already implemented shared records, however information is often provided separately on different tabs in systems, which makes it hard to have a holistic view of a person’s health and care. Shared Care Records will provide a standardised and consolidated view of a person’s health and care.  

The IG Framework provides detail about how Shared Care Record areas can ensure that they are complying with the law. The IG Framework is written for IG professionals, however, it has implications for health and care professionals. With the new Shared Care Records come new responsibilities for health and care professionals. When Shared Care Records are introduced in your area, you should ensure:   

  • You have undertaken appropriate training including information governance training. 
  • You only access the information of those you are caring for, such as a patient attending an out of hours clinic or attending a planned referral. 
  • You access information that is relevant to your role, for example, an administrator should be able to view demographics such as name, address rather than health and care information, for example, diagnosis/issues. You have a professional responsibility to only access the information you need to provide care. An audit trail will record who has viewed what information. Evidence that you have accessed information inappropriately may lead to disciplinary action. 
  • You understand the choices which are available to patients or service users in your area.  
  • You understand what to do if a patient or service user objects to their information being shared. Individuals have a right to object and have their objection considered. There should be local processes in place for considering patient objections.
  • You understand what to do if someone submits a Subject Access Request (SAR).  There should be local processes in place to ensure that SARs are responded to. 
  • You can provide patients or service users with information if they have any questions about these changes. To comply with the IG Framework, your local area must have public communication materials and each organisation must display a privacy notice. 
  • You understand that all health and care professionals have a responsibility for keeping data secure.  

Guidance for IG professionals

The IG Lead in your area is responsible for engaging local IG professionals. The IG Framework provides detailed information for IG professionals. It includes the following information:

  • The importance of good IG practice 
  • Understanding legal requirements
  • Determining data flows and controllership
  • Records of processing activity
  • Data access controls, review and retention
  • Assuring security
  • Individual rights
  • Patient and service user objections 
  • Demonstrating accountability

The IG Framework also includes tools and templates to support areas that are implementing Shared Care Records.

Whilst the Framework has been driven by Shared Care Records, the aim is that it will support all integrated care initiatives. 

Further information

For more information regarding local Shared Care Records’ initiatives, please refer to the regional collaboratives listed below:

There are four regions that are still in the process of establishing their websites for Shared Care Records:

  • Sussex
  • West Midlands
  • East Midlands
  • OneSouthWest
IG framework - shared care records

Download full PDF (PDF, 1.6 MB)