Summary Care Records
The Summary Care Record (SCRs) is an electronic record containing the patient's name, address, date of birth and NHS Number and information about medication, allergies and any reactions to medicines that the patient has had. Summary Care Records are intended to improve the safety and quality of patient care.
Benefits to patients
SCRs are accessible to authorised healthcare staff treating patients in an emergency in England. This will be particularly useful when a patient cannot give information (for example if they are unconscious, out of hours or when they are away from home and are unable to see their own GP.
Patients are better supported by healthcare staff who have faster access to their medical information, and when they do not have to repeat information to different NHS staff treating them. For example, in a hospital setting, healthcare staff will be able to access a patient's SCR quickly, enabling faster assessment.
SCRs support better, safer prescribing of medication for patients by providing up to date information on a patient's allergies, previous adverse reactions and medications.
SCRs enable vulnerable patient groups and those patients that are unable to communicate well with healthcare staff. For example, a non-English speaking patient who might struggle to communicate his condition would no longer be disadvantaged as his SCR would be available to the treating clinician.
Additional information, such as end of life care plans and relevant diagnoses, may be available to inform clinical care where it is appropriate.
All information is confidential and only accessible to staff with NHS Smartcards.
Benefits to NHS healthcare staff
Important patient information will be available to authorised healthcare staff treating patients in an emergency, where they had previously not had access to it. This will be particularly useful to NHS staff treating patients in an emergency, when a patient needs treatment out of hours or away from their local area.
SCRs contain details of a patient's key health information including medications, allergies and adverse reactions enabling clinicians to feel more confident to treat patients.
With SCRs, medicines reconciliation (where a patient's prescribed medication is checked against current medications to ensure there is no conflict) is more efficient in hospital pharmacies as pharmacists will be able to immediately refer to the SCR in order to reconcile the medications prescribed to the patient.