Bury is the first area in the UK to pilot new digital technology that will help to give our children the best start in life.
Parents and carers will be able to use an Early Years App to complete forms online instead of having to fill in cumbersome paper forms.
This allows them and professionals involved in a child’s care to better track a child’s progress, identify issues earlier and better co-ordinate care.
The scheme covers children from birth to the age of two and a half, and parents of new-borns in Radcliffe and Prestwich will be the first to trial the technology from March.
The project is funded by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and will help to transform the way health information is recorded and shared across the city region.
It will also free up valuable clinical time for health visiting teams, thought to be worth around £10m per year in productivity once rolled out across Greater Manchester, enabling health visitors more time to provide better quality care for our youngest citizens.
Vikki McClung, health visitor for the Radcliffe team in the Bury and Rochdale Care Organisation, said: “The Early Years App will empower parents to access everything they need to support their child’s development in one place.
“It will also provide a seamless and really integrated process which will bring all partners together including health, education and most importantly the families to make sure every child is ready for school.”
Councillor Tamoor Tariq, cabinet member for children and families at Bury Council, said: “Giving our children the best possible start in life is one of our very top priorities, and we are delighted to be national pioneers in this new digitisation project. The early years are so important, and this project should help all partners to provide a simpler and more co-ordinated service.
“Furthermore, the project will complement all the work we have been doing to improve early learning, particularly in areas which have traditionally been regarded as deprived. This has led to Bury having a GLD (Good Level of Development) score of 71.4%, which is the second highest in Greater Manchester. Even more impressive is the score for Radcliffe East of 79.5%, which is much higher that what would be expected based on deprivation measures.”
And Cllr Elise Wilson, portfolio lead at the GMCA for Digital City Region, said: “Investing in and upgrading digital technology is fundamental to transforming our public services, so that we can provide better care and support to local people now and into the future.
“For instance, when we look at our top priorities like ensuring children are ready for school, we find that parents and guardians don’t have sufficient access to information about their child’s development and professionals struggle with how fragmented the information is which puts a huge amount of pressure on our health systems and quality of care. This new digital transformation programme is key to leveraging our strengths and helping our families in Greater Manchester and beyond to realise their full potential.”
This work will also pave the way for other public service areas to digitally transform the service citizens receive, by digitising paper-based forms, joining up different parts of the system and sharing information safely and securely.