Moves are afoot to address concerns raised by adult care chiefs about the continuing operation of parallel electronic records for health and social care.
But disquiet remains about the slow pace of integrating care records for adults’ and children’s services due to a lack of cross-government co-ordination.
In April, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services warned that developments in IT were out of step with the government’s wider focus on integrating health and social care. This was despite a government commitment to have integrated health and social care records from 2010.
Adass said the NHS care records service and the electronic social care record (ESCR) operated different data standards, which prevented them being linked.
Now, the Department of Health has agreed to develop common standards for data by extending to adult social care the remit of the NHS Information Standards Board, which sets data standards for the health service.
Adass IT lead David Johnstone, who also chairs the ESCR Board, which is responsible for implementation, said this would involve common definitions of terms such as “disability” in both sectors and throughout the country.
However, he renewed criticisms of the government’s failure to integrate the ESCR and the NHS care records service with the various IT systems for children’s services, being developed by the Department for Children, Schools and Families.
Johnstone added: “There’s an absence of a mechanism across government to ensure they are joined up.”
● The government is due to announce “significant” funding for councils to implement the ContactPoint database of children in England in their areas in 2008-9, the DCSF has said.
This emerged in response to a letter from the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, which had warned that councils could face excessive burdens in having to administer ContactPoint in their areas, particularly in allowing access by practitioners employed by partners agencies.
The DCSF said councils could delegate checks on practitioners to the agencies that employed them.