A PIONEERING new system is set to improve care for people in South Craven and across North Yorkshire.

The initiative will give social care workers easier and quicker access to relevant medical information about those they're supporting.

Previously the adult social care service would have to phone a person's GP practice and wait to speak to someone to obtain the details it needed.

But now the data, which may include information for example about medication or recent appointments, can be accessed instantly via a secure online portal.

North Yorkshire County Council has been at the forefront of developing the system – alongside partners in the Humber, Coast & Vale Health and Care Partnership – after the region secured £7.5 million in NHS funding.

And the county council is the first to go live with the venture.

All North Yorkshire GP practices have joined the programme.

County Councillor Greg White, executive member for digital, said: "Being able to access GP data quickly – without having to go through the practice – relieves pressure on the system and improves the pace at which professionals can make important care decisions and the quality of those decisions, and therefore improves the care that people receive.

"Such a service is more important than ever at a time when the care sector faces huge pressures."

In time, the portal will be expanded to also allow access to relevant hospital and social care records.

County Councillor Michael Harrison, executive member for adult social care and health integration, said: "If someone who is receiving care has a significant health issue, accessing the appropriate medical information provides a much richer picture which social care workers will find really helpful.

"Also, a regular frustration for those receiving care is that they have to keep telling the same story to different people caring for them. Now the social care worker will have easy access to much of the information that person may already have discussed with their GP."

Selina Hart, care and support team manager with the county council, says she has already seen first-hand a range of benefits from the new system.

She added: "The programme provides the right information to the appropriate person when it's needed. As a result, the system safely and securely connects the services we deliver and benefits the people at the heart of the care. It is also good for the morale of our staff."