Dr Martin Baggaley (C4H clinical lead for London & Consultant Psychiatist) gave an interesting presentation setting out some specific issues for mental health trusts in London. He stressed the low base, in terms of electronic records systems, that mental health trusts are faced with, and the vital need for interoperability – not just with acute trust systems, but also with other agencies such as social services and the criminal justice system.

He pointed out some of the implications of Our Health, Our Care, our Say and its implicit moves from secondary to primary care and the balance between “stalinist” central control and “arguing local fifedoms”, and the problems which emerge from this. He described the “tactical” move by many London Mental Health Trusts to use RiO until fuller tools are available from the National Programme – and suggested that the spine would be, ultimately, the best route to address the ineroperability issues he highlighted. During the question and answer session he agreed with a questioner that for many London MH trusts which already have effective sysems the best solution may be to sit tight at present. I asked another question about mental health patients having “particularly sensitive” information which they may wish to go in the “sealed envelope” before it is uploaded to the spine. He suggest that many “career” MH patients are very open about their condition & may not wish to restrict access to their records, but that for many people with transient mental health problems the development of the sealed envelope is vital before information is uploaded.

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