UK: Health organisations are increasingly turning to mapping, to visualise and plan service provision, observed a report published in The Guardian. More than two thirds of primary care trusts (PCT), all ambulance trusts and 69 hospital trusts in England and Wales have registered for the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA), which widens access to Ordnance Survey (OS) digital mapping products.
The agreement between the government and the OS allows public sector organisations to use centrally funded geographic datasets. Since its launch in April 2011, the PSMA has been a catalyst for collaborative working between agencies that are now able to share the freely available data.
Avon IM&T Consortium, which provides information management and technology solutions to four PCTs in South West England, used mapping for a number of applications including a joint working initiative between NHS Bristol and Bristol City Council to improve local drug and alcohol treatment services. They were able to use PSMA data provided by both the PCT and local authority to calculate the accessibility of local treatment centres, include hospital statistics on alcohol-related admissions and analyse the current provision of services.
According to Trevor Foster, GIS and primary care team leader, the availability of OS master map large scale mapping data is also helping it to support business areas like estates planning and development, “We couldn’t do that before because we just couldn’t afford that data, it’s very expensive. And also we now have access to data that allows us to analyse down to address level, whereas before we were limited to postcode level analysis.
“That’s very important in healthcare around GP practices and how they register patients. They have contractual agreements with the primary care trusts, and they have a defined practice area. So we produce maps which act as a contract between the GP practice and the PCT.”
The consortium also developed a GP profiling tool for the local cancer network using GIS. “We’ve now been asked to extend that to the whole of the South West region, so we’re taking on three other cancer networks and providing the tool to them as well,” added Foster.
In Hull, the council and the local PCT started using postcode level mapping from the PSMA to plan contraception and sexual health advice services.
Source: The Guardian