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Summary Care Records

Summary Care Records

27th May 2010

The NHS is changing the way health information is stored and managed. The NHS Summary Care Record is being introduced to help deliver better, safer care. Your Summary Care Record is an electronic record of important information about your health.  It will be available to healthcare staff providing your NHS care, which means that if you have an accident or become ill, the clinicians treating you will have immediate access to important information about you.

The Summary Care Record is an electronic summary of key health information. It will hold details on your medications, adverse reactions and allergies and can be added to in time to include other information you and your GP feel is important – for example donor status or an end of-life plan.

The Summary Care Record is all about better, safer care.  It’s a way of joining up all the different parts of the NHS so any clinician who is treating you in the NHS anywhere in the country, with your consent, can get access to vital health information about you in 30 seconds rather than 30 minutes or even longer.

This means that if you become ill on holiday somewhere in England and have to attend A&E or a walk-in centre, a clinician treating you will be able to access your vital health details quickly. It could prove life-saving.

Summary Care Records will only be available to authorised clinicians through a chip and pin-type smartcard. Access rights are tightly controlled and only available to authorised clinicians. Security and confidentiality in the NHS is critical. The type of IT security behind Summary Care Records is tighter than the security you find on internet banking. Your details will only be used for the purpose of treating you as a patient. Your details will never be passed on to third parties and will not leave the UK.

The NHS across the country wrote to every person over the age of 16 about the Summary Care Record as they have a choice whether to have one or not. This is purely a personal decision for each individual.

If you have any questions or concerns about Summary Care Records, please phone the NHS Care Records Service Information line on 0845 603 8510.

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