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Summary Care Records (SCR)

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

The way some users and organisations access SCR is changing

NCRS is the improved successor to the Summary Care Record application (SCRa). We require all users and organisations to switch from SCRa/1-Click to the NCRS product by 29 September 2023.

You can find more information or switch and start using NCRS now.

National data sharing GP Connect and Summary Care Record Additional Information

The temporary changes made to GP Connect and Summary Care Record Additional Information in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will continue beyond the end of the Control of Patient Information (COPI) Notice

Access to SCR information means that care in other settings is safer, reducing the risk of prescribing errors. It also helps avoid delays to urgent care.

At a minimum, the SCR holds important information about;

  • current medication
  • allergies and details of any previous bad reactions to medicines
  • the name, address, date of birth and NHS number of the patient

Additional Information in the SCR, such as details of long-term conditions, significant medical history, or specific communications needs, is now included by default for patients with an SCR, unless they have previously told the NHS that they did not want this information to be shared. There will also be a temporary change to include COVID-19 specific codes in relation to suspected, confirmed and other COVID-19 related information within the Additional Information.

Using SCR

SCR for patients

If you are registered with a GP practice in England your SCR is created automatically, unless you have opted out. 98% of practices are now using the system. You can talk to your practice about opting out of including Additional Information to do with long term conditions, care preferences or specific communications needs.

Read more patient information on SCR

GP information on creating SCRs and including Additional Information

The SCR is created automatically through clinical systems in GP practices and uploaded to the Spine. It will then be updated automatically. When new patients are registered the practice should check they are happy to have an SCR. An SCR consent preference form is available. Additional Information will be added to the SCR, unless a patient wishes to opt out. 

When viewing SCRs, if a health care professional already has access to view SCRs then they require no further RBAC activities or smartcard changes to view SCRs which have Additional Information included.

How to record medicines prescribed elsewhere into the GP practice record

This guidance explains why medicines prescribed elsewhere to a patient’s GP practice must be recorded into their GP practice record and the implications to the Summary Care Record when this has not been done. It also explains what steps GP practices can take to ensure that this information is recorded correctly.

Read more on recording medicines prescribed elsewhere into the GP practice record

Viewing SCRs

The SCR can be viewed by health and care staff, and viewing is also available to community pharmacies. SCRs can be viewed through clinical systems or through the Summary Care Record application (SCRa) on the Spine web portal, or the National Care Records Service from a machine logged in to the secure NHS network, using a smartcard with the appropriate Role Based Access Control codes set.

Read more on viewing SCR and implementing viewing in your organisation

Read more on SCR in community pharmacies

Security and the SCR

Data within the SCR is protected by secure technology. Users must have a smartcard with the correct codes set. Each use is recorded. A patient can make a Subject Access Request to NHS Digital to find out the organisation that accessed their SCR and the date/time of the access. A report is produced and sent to the requester which details Business Message Types including SCR views via SCRa and SCR retrievals via 3rd party viewing systems. The requester is directed to the organisations from which the accesses were made, should they have any concerns with the users who accessed their SCR or if they would like confirmation that a SCR retrieval via a 3rd party viewing system resulted in an end user viewing the SCR.

Patient data is protected by strict information governance rules and procedures. Each organisation using the SCR has at least one privacy officer who is responsible for monitoring access and can generate audits and reports.

A patient can also opt out of having an SCR by returning a completed opt-out form to their GP practice.

Information for clinical commissioning groups and others responsible for health planning

Use of SCR is featured in NHS England's Universal capabilities information and resources for helping organisations to fulfil commitments in their Local Digital Roadmaps and Sustainability and Transformation Plans.

SCR helps organisations fulfil capabilities:

  • A: professionals across care settings can access GP held information on GP prescribed medications, patient allergies and adverse reactions (SCR core functionality)
  • B: Clinicians in urgent and emergency care settings can access key GP-held information for patients previously identified by GPs as most likely to present in urgent and emergency care) (SCR with Additional Information)
  • H: Professionals across care settings made aware of end-of-life preference information (SCR with Additional Information)

Help to improve access to patient records

We would like to know more about how health and care professionals access patient records, to better understand how we can tailor future developments to meet their needs. Join our user research group.

Further information

internal View Summary Care Records (SCR)

Find out about viewing Summary Care Records (SCR), including ways to connect to SCR on the Spine and how to set up your healthcare organisation to view SCRs.

internal Summary Care Record - HL7 V3 API

Access a patient's Summary Care Record (SCR) using our HL7 V3 API. Also previously known as PSIS query and GP summary.

Last edited: 6 January 2023 3:36 pm