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Summary Care Records: an update.

The Summary Care Record (SCR) is a secure electronic summary of key health information. Authorised health professionals can access the record to help with the care they provide to patients in unscheduled and emergency situations, where access to this information can be difficult to obtain or non-existent.

The SCR contains essential information, including medications, allergies and adverse reactions, which is a subset of information from a patient's GP electronic record. Additional information, such as significant past and current medical history, care plans, patient wishes or preferences and other relevant information can be added to the SCR.

In this digital age there is a growing expectation among patients that the NHS will hold and transfer information securely about them, as needed, in the course of providing care. The SCR offers a secure way of providing access to a patient's record, when necessary, in the course of treating patients in unscheduled and emergency situations.

The SCR supports 'no decision about me, without me'. Patients can decide whether or not to have an SCR. In the course of providing care, a patient is asked for their permission before their SCR is viewed. It can only be looked at with a patient's permission, when they present for care.

Any additional information over and above medications, allergies and adverse reactions, can only be included in the SCR with a patient's explicit consent and helps put them in control of their healthcare.

As more records are created, local health communities across the country are implementing SCR access to support patient care in unscheduled and emergency care settings.

Providing the appropriate safeguards are in place, the SCR offers a solution to getting information to clinicians when they need it to support patients in unscheduled and emergency situations that can be locally tailored.

SCRs are being created for all patients in England unless they choose to opt out of having one. Currently, over 40 million people have been written to about the SCR, over 24 million patients have an SCR and approximately 1.34% of patients written to have opted out.

Work is under way with NHS organisations and suppliers of IT systems to provide convenient access to more staff and services across primary care unscheduled services, including providing mobile access to the SCR to support home visits.

If you or your organisation would like to get involved or share your experience of SCR use, please email:

More information can be found at: or on Twitter:

Zak Bickhan

SCR Clinical Safety and Assurance Lead

Summary Care Record Programme

Health and Social Care Information Centre

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Title Annotation:ANTENNA
Author:Bickhan, Zak
Publication:Community Practitioner
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 1, 2013
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