The NHS in England are introducing a new electronic record called the Summary Care Record (SCR), which will be used to improve the safety and quality of patient care.
It will give healthcare staff faster, easier access to reliable information about you to help with your treatment.
Today, all the places where you receive care keep records about you. They can usually only share information from your records by letter, e-mail, fax or phone. At times, this can be slow and sometimes things get lost on the way.
Currently more than 25 million records have been created across England. Having an SCR gives authorised healthcare staff a quicker way to get important information about you, in an emergency or out-of-hours.
About your Summary Care Record
If you decide to have a Summary Care Record it will contain important information about any medicines you are taking, allergies you suffer from and any bad reactions to medicines that you have had.
Giving healthcare staff access to this information can prevent mistakes being made when caring for you in an emergency or
when your GP practice is closed.
Your Summary Care Record will also include 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 you ask for the information to be included. You should discuss your wishes with the healthcare staff treating you.
How will Summary Care Records help me?
- Healthcare staff will have quicker access to information about any medicines you are taking, allergies you suffer from and any bad reactions to medicines you have had.
- This means they can provide you with safer care during an emergency, when your GP practice is closed or when you are away from home in another part of England.
How will you control who can see my Summary Care Record?
Healthcare staff who can see your Summary Care Record:
- need to be directly involved in caring for you;
- need to have an NHS Smartcard with a chip and passcode (like a bank card and PIN);
- will only see the information they need to do their job; and
- will have their details recorded.
Healthcare staff will ask 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 in certain circumstances such as a court order, healthcare staff may look at your record without asking you. If they have to do this, they will make a note on your record.
How will you protect my confidentiality?
By law, everyone working for us or on our behalf must respect your confidentiality and keep all information about you secure.
We publish the NHS Care Record Guarantee for England. This says how the NHS will collect, store and allow access to your electronic records and your choices for how your information is stored and looked at. If you would like a copy, there is information on how to get one on the back of this leaflet.
No matter how careful we are, there are always risks when information is held on computers as there is when they are held on paper. In every place we treat you there are people responsible for protecting your confidentiality. Ask your local NHS for more information.
What are my choices?
- You can choose to have a Summary Care Record: You do not need to do anything. This will happen automatically.
- You can choose not to have a Summary Care Record: You need to let your GP practice know by filling in and returning an opt-out form.
You can change your mind at any time
- If you choose not to have a Summary Care Record but then change your mind later we can still make one for you.
You need to let your GP practice know.
- If you choose after we have made your Summary Care Record that you do not want it, you need to tell your GP practice. We will make sure that healthcare staff who try to look at your Summary Care Record will not be able to. We will only make your record available again if whoever wants to see it asks in writing and investigation has found it necessary.
- You can ask to have your record deleted, but that may not be possible if the record has already been used to give you care.
Children and the Summary Care Record
Children will automatically have a Summary Care Record made for them.
If you do not want your child to have a Summary Care Record you will need to fill in an opt-out form on behalf of your child and return it to your child’s GP practice. In some circumstances your GP may feel it is in your child’s best interests to have a Summary Care Record. For example, if your child has a serious allergy that healthcare staff treating your child should know about.
Introduction to Summary Care Records
Today, records are kept in all the places where you receive care. These places can usually only share information from your records by letter, email, fax or phone. At times, this can slow down treatment and sometimes information can be hard to access.
We are introducing Summary Care Records to improve the safety and quality of patient care. Because the Summary Care Record is an electronic record it will give healthcare staff faster, easier access to essential information about you, to help provide you with safe treatment when you need care in an emergency or when your GP practice is closed.
We are telling you about this before a Summary Care Record is made for you, so that you have time to think about your choices.
You can choose to have a Summary Care Record:
You do not need to do anything. This will happen automatically.
Healthcare staff will ask your permission every time they look at your Summary Care Record.
You can choose not to have a Summary Care Record:
If you don’t want a Summary Care Record, you need to let your GP practice know by filling in and returning an opt-out form.
For further information for patients can be found on the Patient Website.
Additionally, patient frequently asked questions (FAQs) are available to assist further.
If you wish to opt out of the Summary Care Record then you can download the opt out form here.