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Summary Care Records
NHS North Yorkshire and York are introducing Summary Care Records (SCRs) for patients as part of the NHS Care Records Service. This project offers a real opportunity to improve patient safety and clinical care while providing important safeguards about consent and confidentiality.
What is the NHS summary care record?
A Summary Care Record is a secure electronic record of a personís key health information taken from their GP record and shared between healthcare staff involved in that patientís care. Summary Care Records will initially only contain health information such as allergies, current prescriptions and bad reactions to medicines. The Summary Care will give healthcare staff faster, easier access to essential information about you, to help provide you with safe treatment when you need care in an emergency or when your GP practice is closed.
You may want to add other details about your care to your Summary care Record. This will only happen if you ask for the information to be included. You should discuss your wishes with the healthcare staff treating you.
Only authorised healthcare staff directly involved in the patient's care in England will be able to view the Summary care Record, and staff will be required to seek the permission of the patient to view their record. If they cannot ask you, for example if you are unconscious, they may look at your record without asking you. If they have to do this, they will make a note on your record.
NHS North Yorkshire and York
In February and March 2010 we wrote to patients from 93 practices across the area. This covered approximately 800,000 patients. They were given detailed information about the Summary Care records. Patients were given the opportunity to opt out of having a summary care record. For all those patients who did not opt out it will be assumed that they are happy to have an SCR and the process of creating a record for them will begin from mid 2011.
What are my choices?
You can choose to have a Summary Care Record: you do not need to do anything. This will happen automatically.
You can choose not to have a Summary Care Record: you need to let your GP practice know by filling in and returning an opt out form.
You can change your mind at any time
If you choose not to have a Summary Care Record but then change your mind later we can still make one for you. You need to let your GP practice know.
If you choose not to have your Summary Care record after we have made it, you need to tell your GP practice. We will make sure that healthcare staff who try to look at your Summary Care Record will not be able to. We will only make your record available again if whoever wants to see it asks in writing and an investigation has found it necessary, for example if there is a complaint.
You can ask to have your record deleted, but that may not be possible if the record has already been used to give you care.
Whatever you decide, we will provide you with the best possible care.
What do I do now?
If you are happy for us to make a Summary Care Record for you, you do not need to do anything, we will automatically make one for you.
If you do not want us to make a Summary Care record for you, please fill in an opt out form and return it to your GP practice.
You can get an opt out form from your GP practice, or you can ask to have one sent to you by phoning the Summary Care Record Information Line on 0300 123 3020.
By law, everyone working for us or on our behalf must respect your confidentiality and keep all information about you secure.
There is lots of information available about the NHS Care records Service and the SCR.
Improved information flow between patient and staff
Healthcare staff will have quicker access to information about any medicines you are taking, allergies you suffer from and any bad reactions to medicines you have had.
Better treatment in emergencies and out of hours
This means Healthcare staff can provide you with safer care during an emergency, when your GP practice is closed, or when you are away from home in another part of England.
Patients care will no longer be delayed by the sending of records from one location to another, and patients will not be required to repeat the same information to different healthcare staff.
Improvements to your care
The reliance on paper records and their transference from one location to another can be slow, and sometimes information can be lost along the way. One central, electronically held SCR for each patient will reduce this possibility. Authorised healthcare staff will be able to see the parts of the record that are relevant to them, improving the quality of treatment and care.
Confidentiality and security of your record
Information in the SCR is safe and secure and is protected by the strongest security measures available for handling data.
Children will automatically have a Summary care record made for them.
If you do not want your child to have a Summary care record you will need to fill in an opt out form on behalf of your child and return it to your child's GP practice.
In some circumstances your GP may feel it is in your child's best interests to have a Summary care Record. For example, if your child has a serious allergy that healthcare staff treating your child should know about. Your GP will discuss this with you.
Confidentiality of records
By law, everyone working for or on our behalf must respect your confidentiality and keep all information about you secure.
All health records are private and personal, so one of our top priorities is to make the process of accessing your electronic information secure.
We aim to use the strongest national and international security measures for handling your information. These measures make sure that your information is stored safely, stays private and is accessed appropriately.
Your rights to privacy and our commitment to protect them are set out in the leaflet 'The Care Record Guarantee'
By law, everyone working in or on behalf of the NHS must respect your privacy and keep all information about you safe. The NHS Care Record Guarantee for England and the NHS Constitution both set out how the NHS should handle your records to protect your privacy.
You can get a copy of the NHS Constitution from the Department of Health website at www.dh.gov.uk.
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