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Creating a new NHS England: NHS England and NHS Digital merged on 1 February 2023. All references to NHS Digital now, or in the future, relate to NHS England. More about the merger.

View Summary Care Records (SCR)

Learn 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.

Training on e-Learning for Healthcare

All users should complete Summary Care Records training on the e-Learning for Healthcare website.

This short e-learning course covers:

  • an overview of the Summary Care Records service
  • how SCR works and what a patients typical SCR looks like
  • what is required to access the service
  • how to ensure that access to patient details using the SCR remain safe and secure
  • what enriched SCR look like with Additional Information
  • video case studies to understand where SCR can be, and is, used

This single module includes an assessment that allows the user to test their knowledge against what is learnt during the course.

View the SCR

An SCR should only be viewed if the user is involved in the patient's care. This is called a 'legitimate relationship'.

The patient should be asked for their permission before their SCR is viewed. This is called 'permission to view'. Permission to View is designed to ensure that a patient has been informed about how their personal information is being used. It also allows the patient to determine who can view this information in the context of the care being provided to them. 

The ways that health and social care operates are diverse and the approach to implementing Permission to View will vary. The Permission to View guidelines are available to support organisations to implement it effectively.

Users must have smartcards with the correct codes enabled and a connection to the secure NHS network.

Users should:

  • log on to SCR on the Spine through the system in use in their organisation, using their smartcard
  • choose the correct role, if they have more than one
  • search for the patient, using NHS number if possible
  • ask for the patient's permission to view the SCR and record it, or choose the emergency access option if the patient is unconscious or can't answer, and add a note

For more information see information governance in SCR.

View SCR with Additional Information

SCR permission to view guidelines

There are five areas covered by the SCR permission to view guidelines: 

  1. Organisations viewing SCRs should define the scope of the permission being sought, such as who is being given permission and for how long.
  2. The explanation to a patient, as part of seeking permission to view, should be simple, straightforward, honest and appropriately communicated.
  3. A patient’s permission to view should be sought at the most appropriate point in the patient’s care pathway.
  4. The scope of permission obtained should be appropriately recorded.
  5. On those occasions when it is not possible to ask for permission to view, health and care professionals may act in the patient’s best interests. 

Permission to view guidance

Ways to connect to SCR on the Spine

Users can view the SCR using:

  • the standalone web viewer, the Summary Care Record application (SCRa) on the Spine web portal - the National Care Records Service (NCRS) is the new and improved successor to the SCRa
  • an integrated viewer within an existing clinical system - available in Adastra (Advanced Health and Care), CLEO (CLEOsystems24), Web (EMIS), Symphony (Ascribe) and SystmOne (TPP)
  • one-click functionality within systems to launch the SCRa from within an existing system - available in RiO (Servelec), Lorenzo (CSC) and community pharmacy systems (Sonar and PharmOutcomes)
  • links to Spine within systems using the Spine mini service

Set up your healthcare organisation to view SCRs

If you are interested in setting up your organisation so that your staff can view SCR information, contact the SCR team by completing this online form.

for general SCR enquiries please contact NHS Digital:

The process will vary, but as a guide you will need to:

  • discuss and agree sites where SCR capability will be set up
  • assess IT systems to find the best technical solutions
  • decide what training staff need and how to provide it
  • identify which staff should have access and make sure they have the correct Role Based Access Control codes on their smartcards
  • appoint and train a privacy officer for the organisation, who will monitor SCR access - for more information see information governance in SCR

View SCR in community pharmacy

NHS Digital is currently working to make sure all community pharmacies can view the SCR, and there is a dedicated community pharmacy team.

Go to the pages for SCR in community pharmacy

Scope of viewing SCRs

The original scope of the Summary Care Record (SCR) was to provide access to key information in Urgent and Emergency Care settings. Overtime through close consultation with the Expert Advisory Committee, NHS Digital have progressed a number of proof of concepts to see whether there are benefits, both for patients and health care professionals, for other care settings to access the SCR.

The following care settings are approved for national rollout to view the SCR where a legitimate relationship exists:

  • 111
  • accident and emergency
  • acute assessment
  • ambulance
  • community care
  • GP out of hours
  • GP (for temporary or non-registered patients)
  • hospital pharmacy
  • minor injury units/walk in centres/urgent treatment centres
  • scheduled care
  • mental health
  • health and justice (custody suites)
  • hospices
  • primary care
  • community pharmacy
  • substance misuse

The following care settings are currently either being discussed or there is an active proof of concept but are not approved for further rollout:

  • dentistry (minor oral surgery and community dental providers)
  • domiciliary care and care homes
  • optometry
  • private GP providers
  • private hospitals and privately funded healthcare services
  • adult social care
  • sexual, contraceptive and reproductive healthcare services. 

Whilst there is an active proof of concept with a particular care setting, further roll out is not approved for that care setting. Any care setting outside the above are currently out of scope for SCR. However if you feel that there is a use case for a new care setting to access the SCR, please complete this online expression of interest form.

More about 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.

With this in mind, the following settings and use cases are not in scope for SCR viewing and will not be approved for rollout for:

  • research purposes, including clinical trials
  • police and other government departments
  • non-clinical cosmetics

Further information

internal Summary Care Record new interest form

Summary Care Records (SCR) are an electronic record of important patient information, created from GP medical records. Use this form to express your interest to view SCR.

Last edited: 20 January 2023 2:51 pm