The NHS has a new Central Computer System called the Summary Care Record (SCR).
What is the SCR?
The SCR is intended to support patient care in urgent and emergency care settings. The SCR will store a defined set of key patient data for every patient in England except those who elect not to have one. This data will make a summary record created from information held on GP clinical systems. This summary record will help in ensuring continuity of care across a variety of care settings.
What does it mean for patients and NHS staff?
A patient's SCR will contain key health information including details of allergies, current prescriptions and bad reactions to medicines. Following the creation of this initial SCR, a patient and their doctor may add additional information to the patient's SCR. This must only be added with the explicit consent of the patient.
The availability of SCRs will assist in improving the safety and quality of patient care, by providing authorised healthcare staff with, easier access to reliable information about the patient to help with treatment.
As the patient is treated they will be asked by staff if they can look at their SCR every time they need to. Not everyone involved in the patient's care will be able to see all of their records. The amount of information staff can see will depend on their job. NHS staff who do not need to see information about the patient's treatment will not be able to view it – for example, non clinical staff will not have access to clinical information unless it is necessary for them to do their job.
Pros & Cons
As with all new systems there are pros and cons to think about. When you speak to an emergency doctor you might overlook something that is important and if they have access to your medical record it might avoid mistakes or problems, although even then, you should be asked to give your consent each time a member of NHS Staff wishes to access your record, unless you are medically unable to do so.
On the other hand, you may have strong views about sharing your personal information and wish to keep your information at the level of this practice. Connecting for Health (CfH), the government agency responsible for the Summary Care Record have agreed with doctors’ leaders that new patients joining this practice should be able to decide whether or not their information is uploaded to the Central NHS Computer System.
For existing patients it is different in that it is assumed that you want your record uploaded to the Central NHS Computer System unless you actively opt out.
For further information visit the HSCIC website and add if you choose to opt out of the scheme, you will need to complete an "opt out" form, which can be downloaded here (EXTERNAL LINK).