Progress is being made on a project that would see a person’s medical history stored in one area, which can be accessed by medical professionals.

Health Minister Lawrie Hooper says the long-term project is expected to be rolled out ‘at least over a three-year period’, from 2024/25.

Douglas North MHK David Ashford asked for an update in the House of Keys sitting last week, adding that the project has ‘dragged on for a good number of years now’.

He asked if GP records and hospital records will be put into one system and Mr Hooper agreed that was the intention.

‘The current system is quite fragmented which is one of the reasons it’s taking so long,’ he said. ‘The intention is it will be a single integrated care record, a single point of truth.’

It has had five titles, starting as the ‘one patient record’ and now being referred to as the ‘integrated care record’ or ‘Manx care record’.

Work was halted during the Covid-19 pandemic but Mr Ashford felt it should be picked back up.

Mr Hooper said: ‘I can report that the Health and Care Transformation Programme working with Manx Care now has an agreed approach procurement of the Manx Care record.

‘The programme and Manx Care are working closely with Liverpool University Foundation Trust (LUFT), with whom our health service has enjoyed a long standing relationship for the delivery of specialist care for a number of years.

‘LUFT are supported by an internal English NHS consultancy partner for their procurement, which covers the procurement for LUFT, the Isle of Man and other NHS Trusts in the north west of England.

‘This process has commenced and the formal full procurement is planned for later this year.’

Once the supplier is selected, the Isle of Man will have the opportunity to develop an agreement that meets its specific needs and funding criteria before entering into its own contract.

Mr Hooper added: ‘This collaborative procurement presents an opportunity for the island to reduce costs for such a service as there will be an incremental reduction in charges based on the number of organisations entering into contracts.

‘It also allows us to be a part of a more influential and larger purchasing agreement than if we procured alone.

‘Additionally, it supports improved transport of patients and access to information between the island and UK specialist pieces when care is required to be delivered off island.’

The minister explained that the delivery of the Manx Care record ‘will not be easy, nor will it be quick’.

‘Although clearly we’ll need to work closely with the selected supplier to finalise any implementation plan prior to any contracting with them,’ said Mr Hooper.

‘This is a digital enabler for significant service change and as such will need to be procured and crucially implemented incrementally.

‘The department supports this approach and whilst recognising the inherent risk of being reliant on a procurement partner, the benefits this could bring are substantial.

‘It is important to recognise that under this arrangement, the Isle of Man will have its own contract with a select supplier and can therefore enforce its own rights under that contract.’

The agreement will make transferring records from the island to the UK easier, which Mr Ashford described as ‘exceptionally welcome’.

Mr Hooper agreed and added that work has started in rolling out a summary care record already in the island, which allows for some limited access for medical records to be shared between the island and ‘NHS partners’.