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Summary Care Records (SCR) - information for patients

Your Summary Care Record is a short summary of your GP medical records. It tells other health and care staff who care for you about the medicines you take and your allergies.

This will enable health and care professionals to have better medical information about you when they are treating you at the point of care. This change will apply for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic only. Unless alternative arrangements have been put in place before the end of the emergency period, this change will be reversed. 

All patients registered with a GP have a Summary Care Record, unless they have chosen not to have one. The information held in your Summary Care Record gives health and care professionals, away from your usual GP practice, access to information to provide you with safer care, reduce the risk of prescribing errors and improve your patient experience.

Your Summary Care Record contains basic information about allergies and medications and any reactions that you have had to medication in the past.

Some patients, including many with long term health conditions, have previously agreed to have additional information shared as part of their Summary Care Record. This additional information includes information about significant medical history (past and present), reasons for medications, care plan information and immunisations.

During the coronavirus pandemic period, your Summary Care Record will automatically have additional information included from your GP record unless you have previously told the NHS that you 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, Shielded Patient List and other COVID-19 related information within the additional information.

By including this additional information in your SCR, health and care staff can give you better care if you need health care away from your usual GP practice:

  • in an emergency
  • when you're on holiday
  • when your surgery is closed
  • at out-patient clinics
  • when you visit a pharmacy

Additional information is included on your SCR

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic we are temporarily removing the requirement to have explicit consent to share the SCR additional information. This change of requirement will be reviewed when the pandemic is over.

You can be reassured that if you have previously opted-out of having a Summary Care Record or have expressly declined to share the additional information in your Summary Care Record, your preference will continue to be respected and applied. 

Additional information will include extra information from your GP record, including:

  • health problems like dementia or diabetes
  • details of your carer
  • your treatment preferences
  • communication needs, for example if you have hearing difficulties or need an interpreter

This will help medical staff care for you properly, and respect your choices, when you need care away from your GP practice. This is because having more information on your SCR means they will have a better understanding of your needs and preferences.

When you are treated away from your usual doctor's surgery, the health care staff there can't see your GP medical records. Looking at your SCR can speed up your care and make sure you are given the right medicines and treatment.

The only people who might see your Summary Care Record are registered and regulated healthcare professionals, for example doctors, nurses, paramedics, pharmacists and staff working under their direct supervision. Your Summary Care record will only be accessed so a healthcare professional can give you individual care. Staff working for organisations that do not provide direct care are not able to view your Summary Care Record.

Before accessing a Summary Care Record healthcare staff will always ask your permission to view it, unless it is a medical emergency and you are unable to give permission.

Protecting your SCR information

Staff will ask your permission to view your SCR (except in an emergency where you are unconscious, for example) and only staff with the right levels of security clearance can access the system, so your information is secure. You can ask an organisation to show you a record of who has looked at your SCR - this is called a Subject Access Request.

Find out how to make a subject access request.

Opting out

The purpose of SCR is to improve the care that you receive, however, if you don't want to have an SCR you have the option to opt out. If this is your preference please inform your GP or fill in an SCR opt-out form and return it to your GP practice.

Regardless of your past decisions about your Summary Care Record consent preferences, you can change your mind at any time. You can choose any of the following options:

  1. To have a Summary Care Record with additional information shared. This means that any authorised, registered and regulated health and care professionals will be able to see a enriched Summary Care Record if they need to provide you with direct care.
  2. To have a Summary Care Record with core information only. This means that any authorised, registered and regulated health and care professionals will be able to see information about allergies and medications only in your Summary Care Record if they need to provide you with direct care.
  3. To opt-out of having a Summary Care Record altogether. This means that you do not want any information shared with other authorised, registered and regulated health and care professionals involved in your direct care, including in an emergency.

To make these changes, you should inform your GP practice or complete the SCR patient consent preferences form and return it to your GP practice.

More information on your health records

Last edited: 6 May 2020 8:15 am