Wales and Scotland sign landmark agreement to improve digital healthcare

An agreement has been formed between NHS Wales and NHS Scotland, which will concentrate on the sharing of both new and old digital solutions.

The agreement, which forms the Health Informatics Service Alliance, will provide a formal framework that develops existing cooperation between the two countries.

Andrew Griffiths, NHS Wales Informatics Service Director, said: “This collaboration will ensure that we can work together to deliver services effectively to benefit the member countries, with new opportunities to be gained from shared innovation.”


Expanding resources

NHS Wales and Northern Ireland currently already use the electronic messaging system,developed in Scotland, to manage electronic referrals; it is thought that Northern Ireland will join the collaboration between Wales and Scotland in the near future.

Mike Ogonovsky, NHS Wales Informatics Service’s Head of Health and Social Care Informatics, said:

We are very pleased to formalise the existing collaboration between ourselves and NHS Scotland,

This will make it easier to maximise the use of resources by agreeing a shared development schedule and to prioritise shared requirements. We hope very much that electronic clinical messaging system is the first of many collaborations between NHS Wales, Scotland and shortly Northern Ireland.”


New and improved

The agreement hopes to create new services, applications and ideas –  as well as develop existing ones – in a bid to reach “greater efficiencies, economies of scale and capacity to serve the health and social care economies in the member countries”.

In order to provide an opportunity to look at operational requirements –such as maintenance, development and decommissioning –as well as oversee “quality and user requirements”, a service management board has been created.

This board has also been designed to maintain “sound governance and stewardship” and help establish a culture of “sharing, re-use” and collaboration.


‘Mutual benefits’

Martin Irving, Associate Director Architecture and Solutions Service, National Services Scotland, hopes that the new agreement will be cost effective and expand digital expertise. He said:

I am looking forward to the mutual benefits to be realised through the creation of the Healthcare Informatics Alliance,

This is the beginning a new shared arrangement that will make the most of limited financial resources and shared technical expertise.”

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