The NHS in England is using an electronic record called the Summary Care Record to support patient care. All the settings where you receive healthcare 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 affect decision making and slow down treatment.
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.
Healthcare staff will have access to this information, so that they can provide safer care, whenever or wherever you need it, anywhere in England.
Additional information included in the SCR
You can request that ‘additional information’ be added in your SCR, this will include:
- Reason for medication
- Significant medical history (past and present)
- Anticipatory care information (such as information about the management of long term conditions)
- Communication preferences
- End of life care information
Consent for Additional Information
Patients must give their explicit consent for this additional information to be added. The consent is enduring so the SCR can be updated in real time. Download this Summary Care Record additional Information patient leaflet to help you explain. If you still would like to go ahead, please complete the Additional Information Consent Form.
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 decision will be recorded and checked to ensure that the access was appropriate.
What are my choices?
Your Summary Care Record will have been created at registration unless you opted out.
If you would like to opt out, please go to: www.digital.nhs.uk
If you are unsure if you have already opted out, you should talk to the staff at your GP practice. You can change your mind at any time by simply informing your GP practice.
Children and the Summary Care Record
If you are the parent or guardian of a child under 16, you should make this information available to them and support the child to come to a decision as to whether to have a Summary Care Record or not.
If you believe that your child should opt-out of having a Summary Care Record, we strongly recommend that you discuss this with your child’s GP. This will allow your child’s GP to highlight the consequences of opting-out, prior to you finalising your decision.