NHS Summary Care Records

The NHS in England is now using an electronic record called the Summary Care Record (SCR), which is being used to support patient care.

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Introduction to Summary Care Records

All the settings where you receive health care keep their own medical records about you. These places can often only share information from your records by letter, fax or phone. At times, this can delay information sharing and this can impact decision making and slow down treatment.

The Summary Care Record is a copy of key information held in your GP record. It provides authorised healthcare staff with faster, secure access to essential information about you – when you need unplanned care or when your GP practice is closed. The availability of Summary Care Records will improve the safety and quality of your care.

About your Summary Care Record

Your Summary Care Record contains important information about any medicines you are taking, any allergies you suffer from and any bad reactions to medicines that you have previously experienced.

Allowing authorised healthcare staff to have access to this information will improve decision making by doctors and other healthcare professionals and has prevented mistakes being made when patients are being cared for in an emergency or when their GP practice is closed.

Your Summary Care Record also includes your name, address, date of birth and your unique NHS Number to help identify you correctly.

You may want to add other details about your care to your Summary Care Record. This will only happen if both you and your GP agree to do this. You should discuss your wishes with your GP practice.

How do Summary Care Records help me?

Healthcare staff will have access to information about any medicines you are taking, allergies you suffer from and any bad reactions to medicines you have had.

This means that healthcare staff can provide safer care, whenever or wherever you need it, anywhere in England, as they can reference key information that otherwise would not be available to them.

Who can see my Summary Care Record?

Healthcare staff who have access to your Summary Care Record:

  • need to be directly involved in caring for you
  • need to have an NHS Smartcard with a chip and passcode
  • will only see the information they need to do their job and
  • will have their details recorded every time they look at your record

Healthcare staff will ask for your permission every time they need to look at your Summary Care Record. If they cannot ask you (for example if you are unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate), healthcare staff may look at your record without asking you, because they consider that this is in your best interest. If they have to do this, this will be recorded and checked to ensure that the access was appropriate.

How does the NHS protect my confidentiality?

By law, everyone working for the NHS in England (or on their behalf) must respect your confidentiality and keep all information about you secure. The NHS Care Record Guarantee for England specifies how the NHS will collect, store and allow access to your electronic records. It details your choices for how your information is stored and viewed.

The NHS Care Record Guarantee is available at http://systems.hscic.gov.uk/scr/intro

Considerable care is taken with your records. There are individuals who are responsible for protecting your confidentiality in each place that you are treated. Please ask your local NHS for more information.

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