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Issued on behalf of NHS North East Essex, NHS West Suffolk and NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk clinical commissioning groups

A local champion of improved health and care services through better information sharing has received a national award for her work.

Julie Irving, Information Sharing Programme Manager for the three clinical commissioning groups in Suffolk and north east Essex, has been named Information Sharing Champion of the Year by the National Health and Social Care Strategic Information Governance Network (SIGN), which represents information governance professionals from across the country.

Julie received the award in recognition of her successful implementation of My Care Record in Suffolk and north east Essex, and for her innovative ideas for improving health and care services, through better information governance and use of I.T.

While many people assume that patient records are automatically accessible between organisations such as GP practices and hospitals, this is often not the case.

Thanks to Julie and the introduction of My Care Record in January 2020, which promotes sharing of information to the public, health and care professionals who are directly involved in an individual’s care can access the information they need from their care records – even if they work for a different organisation or in a different location where it is technically possible. Having that information more easily accessible is good for both patients and health care professionals, with benefits including patients no longer needing to repeat their story many times and professionals having readily available information such as test results and medication to help make the best decisions about care.  My Care Record lays the foundation for the increasing technical ability of systems to be joined up and allow health and care professionals to access patient information at the point of care.

The success of Julie’s work on the My Care Record in Suffolk and north east Essex has resulted in this approach being replicated across the East of England.

Commenting on her award, Julie said: “I’m obviously thrilled that I’ve been recognised by my colleagues nationally, and am very proud to have been nominated six times for this award, more than anyone ever before.

“My Care Record has been a huge achievement in improving patient care, and it is certainly gratifying to see other parts of the country replicate what we have introduced.

“Its success highlights the importance of collaboration and integrated working and how by working together better our health and care organisations can make a positive difference to people’s lives.”

Dr Ed Garratt, Chief Executive, NHS North East Essex, West Suffolk and NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk clinical commissioning groups, said: “Julie is a fantastic leader who has made a significant improvement to patient care across the East of England.

“It’s great that people across the region will now benefit and I’m proud that our patch has been a trailblazer in improved patient care.”