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Welsh A&E nurses to have access to electronic patient records

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Nurses in Wales have welcomed plans for A&E departments and out-of-hours services to have instant access to patients’ GP records.

The Welsh Assembly has approved initial plans for a national roll-out of the electronic Individual Health Record system. The 4.7m roll-out of the scheme, set to begin later this year once final approval has been granted, follows a successful pilot in Gwent.

Under the plans, records will be immediately available to nurses and other clinicians working in unscheduled care settings as long as patients have given consent.

Richard Jones, deputy director of RCN Wales, said: ‘It is going to be good – there will be one record and it will be quicker for patients. There is accuracy in the record and mistakes will be less likely.’

Health minister for Wales Edwina Hart said: ‘This system has already proved successful in Gwent, and I am keen for patients and staff across Wales to benefit from this as soon as possible. Using the electronic Individual Health Record clinicians will quickly have access to patient information and, in some cases, this could make the difference between life and death.

‘I believe this will greatly improve and speed up the care for patients, and reduce pressure on staff and accident and emergency units enabling them to treat more patients,’ she added.

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