• What does NIECR mean for me?

  • What is changing?

  • Why are my demographic details important?

  • How your information is kept safe

  • Printable Patient Information Form

  • When will NIECR be available

  • What Information is included in NIECR Phase1?

  • Why is an ECR needed?

  • Who will have access to information in the ECR?

  • Why do HSC organisations hold information about me?

  • What if I do not want my information to be accessed through NIECR?

  • Privacy Notice


What does NIECR mean for me?

Examples include:

Doctors can check your x-rays and test results on computer. This means they can look at the results as soon as they are available, and your treatment can start sooner
If your GP refers you to a hospital, information about your health can be sent to your hospital doctor in electronic form rather than through the post.

If you have a long term condition, such as diabetes, you may be able to choose to include this information in the NIECR so that the different people looking after you will be able to see it.

The Emergency Care Summary (ECS) is already in use for urgent care and includes details of your drugs and allergies from your GP. This will now be in the NIECR and available to staff involved in your care, such as at out-patient clinics. Letters about you sent to your GP from hospital will be included in the NIECR. This will help inform staff looking after you about your care.

What is changing?

More information about your health and care is recorded on computers instead of paper. At the moment much of this information is held in different clinical IT systems e.g. lab results in lab system, radiology images in PACS, clinical letters in patient management system. This means clinicians need to log in to multiple different systems, remembering different user names and passwords, to access clinical information. We know that many clinicians across Northern Ireland still have very poor access to electronic clinical information. The NIECR will help improve access to information for those who need it and will make this process both much simpler and more robust from a security point of view.

Why are my demographic details important?

It is important to ensure that your demographic details are accurately given and recorded wherever you go to receive care in the HSC and that you update your details with your GP should they change. Your demographic details include your name, date of birth, gender, address, Health+Care Number (HCN) and GP practice.

This information is relied upon every time you use Health and Social Care services, not just so that we can contact you, but also so that we can accurately and safely identify you on systems such as NIECR and your paper records to make sure that you get safe and effective advice, treatment and medication.

How your information is kept safe

The NIECR is held in the HSC data centres and only accessible over the secure HSC network. Patient data can be accessed only by the HSC staff who need to see it to support your care. Having access to NIECR does not mean that HSC staff can access everything that is available – only what they need to undertake their role in the care team for the patients they are helping to look after. Staff working in health and social care services in Northern Ireland have both a legal and an ethical duty to protect the confidentiality of personal information on patients and service users. All accesses to information in NIECR are held in an audit trail, with regular checks made on who has looked at personal information held electronically.

When will NIECR be available?

A pilot is already running in the Belfast City Hospital and the Ulster Hospital, and a number of local GP practices. The rest of the HSC Trusts and General Practices in Northern Ireland will have access to the first phase of ECR from May 2013.

What Information is included in NIECR Phase1?

The information that will be in your NIECR record will be pulled from the many systems used in different hospitals, health and social care centres and general practice and will include:

Your name, address, date of birth, Health+Care Number, hospital numbers, GP details.
‘Encounters’ – visits you’ve had to hospitals and Out of Hours Centres, including clinics, inpatient stays, A&E attendances, plus appointments booked for the future.
Referral letters, discharge letters and other clinical correspondence.
Allergy information if recorded in hospitals or your GPs.
What medications your GP has prescribed you.
Laboratory test and x-ray results.

Why is an ECR needed?

NIECR will improve the safety and quality of your care by ensuring that the right information is available in the right place when you need it, and reducing the need for you to needlessly repeat your details. It will also deliver efficiencies, for example less unnecessary and/or repeat diagnostic testing, less movement of paper around the HSC and reduced delays waiting for the right information.

Who will have access to information in the ECR?

ECR will be used by HSC professionals only, for providing direct care to patients and service users, and access to information will be tightly controlled to those directly involved with treating the individual. The system is heavily safeguarded and users have a personal login and password which provides secure access to the system and enables their individual usage of the system to be tracked and monitored.

Health and Social Care staff have both a legal and an ethical duty to protect the confidentiality of your personal information. Your information is only accessed by Health and Social Care staff such as doctors and nurses when it is needed for your care.

Staff will normally ask for your permission if they need to look at your record. There a small number of circumstances when they may not be able to do so, such as in a medical emergency when the priority would be to treat you promptly and safely, or if they are reviewing a referral from Primary Care.

Why do HSC organisations hold information about me?

Health and Social Care (HSC) information about you is needed to make sure you get the best care possible. This is recorded on paper records and increasingly on secure computer systems in Health and Social Care organisations such as GP surgeries and hospitals.

What if I do not want my information to be accessed through NIECR?

You are able to refuse permission for your information to be looked at in the NIECR. It is however important to remember that the purpose of the ECR is to provide you with safer, faster and better care.
If you would like information about blocking all access to your information through NIECR, even if required at the point of care in a medical emergency, see here