MENTAL health workers who visit patients in their homes are now using tablet computers to update patient records.

Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust has received £358,000 from the government to roll out the project, after making a successful bid to NHS England’s Innovation Fund.

The grant has allowed the teams to purchase the mobile technology for all community staff treating mental health patients with complex care packages .

Staff will be able to use them wherever they are to view and instantly update observations, care plans and appointments through the trust’s Electronic Care Record (eCR) system, allowing other clinicians to have access to the most up to date information.

Dr Arokia Antonysamy, clinical director for the trust’s adult mental health network, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been given this funding. Providing access to the eCR system at the point of care will deliver significant benefits to patients, nursing staff and other clinicians.

“Currently, care records are updated manually on to the system when the staff are next able to return to their office.

Being able to instantly update patient records whilst out in the community will greatly improve the quality of care provided and could also improve early detection of any issues in a patient’s condition prompting earlier intervention.”

Lancashire Care was one of 75 trust’s to receive a share of the £30 million national fund.

Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England, added: “Equipment like this simply wasn’t available as little as 20 years ago and using this kind of modern technology is part of the innovative and new ways of working we need to embrace in tackling modern health challenges.

“We received an amazing response to application process and the decisions on choosing the successful projects have been difficult. It has always come back to one key question – how will this project deliver real, practical benefits for nurses, midwives and care staff and their patients.”