• Graphnet wins £12m contract to build digital “local health and care record”
  • Will cover 3.8 million patients, making it bigger than any existing single shared record in England
  • Joint agreement covers dozens of organisations and five ICS

Five integrated care systems have agreed to fund what will become the biggest electronic regional record in the country so far, covering 3.8m people.

On the group’s behalf, Frimley Health Foundation Trust has signed a £12m seven-year deal with IT supplier System C and Graphnet Alliance to build a regional patient record. All five ICS have agreed to contribute funding to the Thames Valley and Surrey record through to 2026, alongside £7.5m in central funding in the first two years.

The record is one of the five “local health and care record exemplar” picked and funded by NHS England last year, but the first of the areas to sign a major contract to build the new record.

Under the NHS long-term plan, the entire country will be covered by one of these regional records by 2024. Central NHS decision-makers considered the records a crucial element to supporting integrated care, by sharing information across organisational boundaries and supporting population health.

The Thames Valley and Surrey record will create a new single database of 3.8 million patients, drawing information from three smaller regional records that already exist as well as directly from some NHS providers.

Dozens of NHS and social organisations will be involved in feeding patient information into the record, either directly or indirectly, across three separate sustainability and transformation partnerships.

The ICS that have signed up are Frimley Health, Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership, West Berkshire, and Buckinghamshire. The Milton Keynes area of Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes ICS will also be covered, alongside health care organisations in Oxfordshire and East Surrey.

Graphnet has also been contracted to build population health capacity that will sit over the top of this new record.

Programme director Andrew Fenton said the organisations involved had committed financially but had yet to sign-up to the data sharing agreement. However, many areas were already sharing information for direct care through smaller regional records.

He said: “Those organisations have already been through the pain of that process. So, we are building on what has already been done.”

Information sharing would focus on supporting direct care and would be linked to the national patient opt-out scheme.

He expected the record would start collecting some information from early next year, with progressively more detail and functionality added over the next few years.

Fiona Edwards, Frimley ICS lead and chair of record programme, said: “The procurement is a significant step forward in achieving our ambition to use the potential of digital technology to make real improvements to the way people are cared for and are able to look after their own health.”

Graphnet chief executive Brian Waters said: “The scope of this contract puts record sharing at the centre of plans to transform care right across the Thames Valley and Surrey area, with big benefits to citizens and to the health and social services themselves.”