We often think of ‘the NHS’ as one organisation that looks after our health and care. But lots of different organisations make up the NHS. These include:
- GP surgeries
- clinics you visit for specialist appointments
- labs that provide results of tests, for example blood tests
- groups that organise and fund these types of care in your area – for example clinical commissioning groups
The NHS also works closely with organisations that provide, organise or fund other types of care, such as:
- care homes
- social care agencies providing care in your own home
- local authorities who organise and fund these types of care
Because there are lots of different organisations providing care, there are lots of different records of each patient. There is no one record that contains all the information about your health conditions and treatments.
Information about patients who are being cared for, and the care they get, needs to be shared between these organisations. It’s very important that health and care staff looking after you have the information they need, when they need it, to make good decisions about your care, and keep you in the best possible health.
This information is important to us as individuals – better use of health and care information gives us more control of our own health and care.
It’s also needed to plan and organise health and care, and is a great resource for researchers looking at new treatments and seeing which types of care are most effective.