Summary Care Record now accessed every 5 seconds

Making more use of electronic Summary Care Records could make a big impact on improving patient care, a senior NHS Digital figure will say today.

Delivering a keynote speech at the UK Health Show in London, NHS Digital executive director Eve Roodhouse will herald progress in use of SCRs, and will outline some of the work already being done to incorporate more information into them.

She will stress the importance of investing in digital technology to ensure care settings are linked up and able to properly communicate with each other. She will cite the use of electronic Summary Care Records as a vital part of bringing health and social care together.

Eve Roodhouse is expected to say:

"Every five seconds a clinician accesses an electronic Summary Care Record (SCR). This is important information taken from a patient's GP medical records, which can be accessed electronically by an authorised clinician anywhere in the country if they are directly involved in that patient's care. We are approaching universal coverage of pharmacies, with 96 per cent of pharmacies now live with SCR.

"We've been working with Gloucestershire CCG and the CSU to realise the benefits of uploading and sharing additional information across the health community. More than 16,000 records across the county have been uploaded in addition to the standard SCR data, with Gloucestershire Hospitals Trust leading the way with using this information to care for patients.

"With the support of the emergency departments, we supported the CSU in engaging with custody suites, the homeless centre and the Mental Health and Community trusts and we are now working with the ambulance trust to extend viewing even further."

The speech will focus on the need for organisations to work in partnership to make technology and data work for the frontline and for patients.

Acknowledging that one size does not fit all and on occasions the best intentions from the centre can fall short, she will stress the need for direction and design of digital technologies and data sharing to always be the result of a continuous dialogue between all parts of the system, from local to national organisations.

She is expected to say:

"It makes sense that services like Spine, the Electronic Prescription Service, e-referrals and NHS Mail, which are massively important to connecting health and care professionals, are delivered centrally as standardised, secure products. Everybody needs them and will use them for the same type of basic activity.

"For instance, the NHS needs to send emails to each other and it needs to book appointments with each other. Yet the NHS spends more on postage nationally than it would take to fund more than 2,000 extra nurses.

"But there are other areas where we all know that a one size fits all approach doesn't work.

"One example is our Electronic Referral Service. Currently 45,000 people a day use e-RS but by October 2018 we aim to have all first outpatient referrals made electronically. NHS Digital and NHS England are working together to provide support to trusts, helping them individually to make the changes they need before this time next year.

"Patients are able to change or cancel their appointments through the system, with analysis showing that use of electronic referrals has halved the rate of patients missing appointments from 10% to 5%."

"We announced last week that two sites have now achieved paper switch off for first outpatient appointments - Mansfield & Ashfield and Newark & Sherwood CCGs and Sherwood Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.

"At Sherwood, switch off was delivered with a pilot period running through May and June. Since the go-live date, paper referrals received into the trust by the two CCGs has been in the single figures and by the end of June they had reduced to zero.

"Our role now is to help other providers benefit from the lessons learned and to achieve their own paper switch off."


Notes to editors

1.  NHS Digital is the national information and technology provider for the health and care system.  Our team of information analysis, technology and project management experts create, deliver and manage the crucial digital systems, services, products and standards upon which health and care professionals depend. Our vision is to harness the power of information and technology to make health and care better. NHS Digital is the new trading name for the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). We provide 'Information and Technology for better health and care'. Find out more about our role and remit at

2.  Check all quotations against delivery.

3.  The Summary Care Record (SCR) is an electronic record of important patient information, created from GP medical records. It can be seen and used by authorised staff in other areas of the health and care system involved in the patient's direct care.