Health and Social Care Integration

Commencing 2016, the London Borough of Bexley (the Council) Adult Social Care Services and the local Health (NHS) bodies are implementing a series of initiatives designed to enable closer working and more sharing of information, in order to improve the level and timeliness of care to you – our Bexley residents.

Connect Care logo

These initiatives include implementation of the Connect Care project and the creation of Bexley Care. As part of these initiatives to deliver improved adult social care services, we will be sharing some information with health bodies and other local authorities – this includes some social care information and your NHS Number.

Each time you discuss your social care needs with a Council social care staff member, you will be asked if you consent to share your information. You can refuse consent (opt-out) if you do not want your social care information shared with anyone outside of Council’s adult social care services.

Use of your NHS Number

If you are receiving social care support from the Council then we will be using your NHS Number to identify you. This ensures that both the NHS and the Council’s Adult Social Care teams use the same identifier for you, in order to reduce errors in identification – therefore improving your care.

The Council obtains your NHS number either directly from you (or your carer) or through an NHS service called the Personal Demographic Service (PDS). To obtain your NHS number from the PDS, we send basic information such as your name, address and your date of birth to the PDS - the PDS service then locates your NHS number which is then retrieved by us and stored in the Council's adult social care information system.

The NHS number then has two uses:

  1. as a unique identifier to allow Social Care information to be displayed in the Council’s adult social care case information management system, for the provision of direct care
  2. as a unique identifier to allow some of your social care information to be displayed in the web portal Connect Care - a shared health and care record which includes a number of support services including GP’s, hospitals, community matrons, district nurses and social care practitioners

Data security

Data is retained in the adult social care information system in line with the Council’s record retention policies. These policies are in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, Government record retention regulations and best practice. Further information is available at Privacy Notice.

The Council’s IT security and confidentiality policies ensure that your information is protected, and available only to health and social care professional staff directly involved in your care. It will do this by sharing appropriate information between health and social care services at the time of patient contact. These policies are available for inspection by contacting the Council’s Contact Centre:

Access to the information recorded in the Council’s social care information system and in Connect Care is strictly controlled and based on the role of the professional. For example, only staff in the Council’s Adult Social Services who are involved in your direct care will have access to information that is relevant to the execution of their care duties. Your information is not shared with any other teams within the Council.

In terms of the Data Protection Act the Council is both the Data Controller and the Data Processor.

Benefits of sharing information

The use of joined up information across health and social care brings many benefits. One specific example is the discharge of patients into social care. Delays in discharge (commonly known as bed-blocking) can occur because details of social care involvement are not readily available to the staff on the hospital ward and the hospital does not know who to contact at the Council to discuss the ongoing care of a patient.

The linking of social care and health information via the NHS Number will help hospital staff quickly identify if social care support is already in place, who is the appropriate contact at the Council, and allow earlier planning of a patient’s care.

The use of the NHS Number by social care data will bring additional benefits:

  • better coordinated and safer care across health and social care enabled by the sharing of real-time information
  • better coordination of discharges from hospital into social care, as explained above
  • more time to spend on planning and coordinating social care because health staff can identify and involve social care staff earlier in the process
  • earlier intervention to maximise the opportunities of reablement services leading to greater independence for patients
  • less paperwork and more efficient use of social care resources
  • reliable source of identification - we are not reliant purely on name, address details and date of birth to identify an individual

Objecting to the use of your NHS Number

You have the right to object/refuse the Council the right to use your NHS number in this way. If you do this, it will not stop you from receiving care, but it may limit how we are able to support you and will result in the benefits outlined above not being realised. To help you decide, we will discuss with you how this may affect our ability to provide you with care, and the options you have.

If you wish to refuse (opt-out) the Council permission to use your NHS Number or social care purposes, please talk with your nominated social worker to discuss or with a staff member in the Council’s Contact Centre:

Connect Care

Connect Care collects your important health and social care information into a web portal where it can be read by social care and NHS staff who are directly involved in your care. This information will help then make better and faster decisions about the best care services to provide to you.

The information in Connect Care is collected from many different health and social care information systems including from hospitals, community health bodies, GPs, and local councils. The Connect Care web portal is managed by the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust and below you can find a full list of organisations sharing information in Connect Care.

Connect Care Privacy Notice

The organisation providing you with this privacy notice, and controlling the social care data shared in Connect Care, is the London Borough of Bexley (the Council).

Health and social care information is being shared in order to improve the level of service that all organisations provide in delivering care.

In terms of the Data Protection Act the Council is both the Data Controller and the Data Processor of Council adult social care information shared on Connect Care.

Information shared on Connect Care

Information comes from a variety of organisations and information systems. The type of information shared includes:

  • name, address and date of birth
  • NHS number - see Use of your NHS Number
  • dates of hospital appointments, admissions and discharges
  • diagnoses
  • medications
  • known allergies
  • x-ray and blood test results
  • social care assessments and services provided

If you do not want any of your health or social care information to be shared on Connect Care, you can refuse (opt-out) by completing the form on Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust.

More information about the Connect Care programme can be found on Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust Connect Care FAQs.

Organisations sharing information in Connect Care

The organisations listed below are participating in sharing information through Connect Care.

  • Lewisham GP Practices
  • Greenwich GP Practices
  • Bexley GP Practices
  • Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust
  • Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust
  • London Borough of Lewisham (adult social care)
  • Royal Borough of Greenwich (social care)
  • London Borough of Bexley (adult social care)
  • Out of hours care for Greenwich GP Practices (Greenbrook)
  • Out of hours care for Lewisham GP Practices (SELDOC)

These organisations process personal data which relates to your wellbeing, development, safety, behaviour, physical/mental health, and social care.

All members of staff employed by these agencies are bound by the common law duty of confidentiality which means that information that you provide to us (and to these other organisations) must be held in confidence and not shared with anyone else unless:

  • partners are legally obliged or permitted to disclose the information to another organisation or person
  • you provide consent to share the information
  • protocols are in place permitting partners to share information about you to support any intervention or services provided