Eluned Morgan praises digital rollout in Wales

Wales Minister for Health and Social Services Eluned Morgan has praised the rollout of two digital projects being rolled out by NHS Wales organisations - the Welsh Nursing Care Record (WNCR) and Electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration (EPMA).

On a visit to Neath Port Talbot Hospital the minister witnessed how EPMA is embedded into a new digital ward concept, which is improving documentation processes for healthcare staff and patients.

In the Swansea Bay University Health Board area, it is reported to have saved more than 2000 hours of prescriber time each year from re-writing lost, missing or full medication charts at Neath Port Talbot, and a further 3,600 hours a year at Singleton Hospital. It has also reduced errors associated with medicine prescribing and administration.

All other health boards and trusts in Wales will start implementing the system from 1st April 2024.

The WNCR allows staff to record, share and access patient information electronically across wards, hospital sites and health board areas. It has also standardised information collected about adults in hospitals, eliminating variation across health boards.

All health boards and most hospitals across Wales are now using the electronic nursing records, with the remainder set to come on board by March 2024.

It is reported that across the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board area, between August 2021 and July 2023 WNCR saved the equivalent of 135 trees in paper, and resulting in annual savings of around £132,800.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said:

“The benefits of the new digital systems we are funding are clear to see. They are streamlining administrative processes for healthcare staff and allowing them more time to focus on patient care.

“As well as improving quality of care they are also saving health boards money during extremely challenging financial times."

Matthew John, Director of Digital at Swansea Bay University Health Board, said:

“Signal is an excellent example of clinicians and digital professionals working together to deliver digital solutions that enable better care for our patients. Clinicians in Swansea Bay are now able to identify critical information about their patients along with outstanding actions that need to be taken, in real time from any device. This is eliminating administrative delays and blockages.”

Fran Beadle, Chief Nursing Information Officer for Digital Health and Care Wales (DHCW) – which developed WNCR in partnership with all health boards and trusts in NHS Wales – said:

“WNCR has transformed nursing in Wales by standardising documents and providing a digital solution in practice, to enhance patient safety and experience. Collaboration, engagement and listening to feedback from nursing staff has been the true success of this project.”