Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Data sharing vital to tackling winter death burden

  • Comment

Better information sharing between clinicians in acute and primary care is vital to reducing winter deaths, senior nurses have warned.

Chief medical officer for England Sir Liam Donaldson last week recommended that a national “cold weather plan” should be created to reduced excess winter deaths and reduce pressure on the NHS.

Speaking at the launch of his final annual report as CMO, Sir Liam said: “England’s annual winter death toll averages over 30,000 people.

“We have a comprehensive and effective national heatwave plan that is put into place during excessively hot weather. If a comparable national cold weather plan were to be developed, it could save thousands of lives each year,” he said.

Vital to its success would be the identification of patients deemed at increased risk of harm during cold weather, such as those with cardiovascular and respiratory problems.

Imperial College Healthcare Trust director of nursing Janice Sigsworth said identifying patients vulnerable to cold weather and ensuring they have “comprehensive plans” in place could help stop “their first point of call being a hospital”.

But she said that this would mean primary and acute care, and health and social care, working together and sharing information.

“If we had integrated electronic records, or records that go with the patient, we’d know immediately what the care plan was, and what the trigger points were. It is a question of working together in a more joined up way,” she told Nursing Times.

Jane Scullion, respiratory nurse consultant at University Hospitals of Leicester Trust, said: “We have the long term conditions register in primary care so there are ways of identifying vulnerable people, but we need to share databases. One of the major problems has always been that primary and secondary care don’t talk to each other.”

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.