Summary Care Record - What's the Fuss?

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What is the Summary Care Record All About?

The NHS in England is introducing the Summary Care Record. This will be used in emergency care. The record will contain information about any medicines you are taking, allergies you suffer from and any bad reactions to medicines that you have had, to ensure that those caring for you have enough information to treat you safely.

The Summary Care Record has been rolled out in other parts of the country, but has been delayed in the Gateshead area because GPs had some concerns about how the service would run and who would be responsible for ensuring that the record always remained accurate (At the time the proposal was that a summary of medical problems was also going to be included in the record. We were anxious that if the GP made a provisional diagnosis that was later refined, how would the record be updated.)

Although the amount of information that the summary care record will contain has been reduced, we still have not had all our questions relating to keeping the record accurate and secure answered. One of our roles as your GP is to be your advocate. To this end we will not participate in the Summary Care Record until we can be sure that it is in our patients' best interests to do so. We will keep you updated in this blog, so keep checking back.

Even so, it is worth finding out about it and making your own decision about whether you want a summary care record created for yourself. You can change your mind at any point.

Where can I get more information?

The NHS has a website dedicated to giving more information about the summary care record. This can be found at They also have a dedicated phone number: 0300 123 3020. The local Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can also give you more information. They can be contacted via the Queen Elizabeth Switchboard on 482 0000.

There are a few useful videos on YouTube:

  • About the Summary Care Records for Teenagers. Although aimed at a teenage audience, I actually found this the most watchable and informative video. (In other words this one didn't actually send me to sleep!)
  • Explaining how the Summary Care Record will help patients with long term problems. This has the story of a patient who was admitted to hospital. It shows how he would have been helped by the hospital having access to the Summary Care Record. Slightly more dry, but is interesting because it does give a patient's view
  • Using Summary Care Records in an Emergency. This video is longer but gives the view of emergency staff and patients of how the summary care record will help in an emergency. Again its very watchable

 If you decide that you do not want a summary care record created for you (assuming we receive adequate assurances) forms are available to download from here. They need to be returned to the practice. 


Useful tip: the letter giving information about the summary care record also contains your NHS number - it is well worth keeping that number safe somewhere.