Patients across Hampshire needing emergency care can soon benefit from NHS staff across England having quicker, easier access to important information about them.
The NHS Summary Care Record (SCR) is a secure electronic record containing key health information about a patient's medication, allergies and any previous bad reactions to medicines.
This information can make a significant difference to ensuring safe treatment in an emergency when no other information is available, for example, when a patient's GP practice is closed.
Letters are being sent to all patients this month, explaining the benefits of the SCR. An opt out form is included should a patient prefer not to have a Summary Care Record created.
Children under the age of 16 years will get an SCR unless their parents or guardians opt them out.
Access to a patient's SCR is strictly controlled. Only staff with an NHS smartcard can view a record, and only then if they are involved with that patient's treatment and have permission from the patient to do so.
Unlike paper records, an audit trail is generated each and every time a record is viewed, so anyone who accesses a patient's record can be identified. No other information will be added to a record without the patient's consent.
Dr Andy Whitfield, Chair of NHS North East Hampshire & Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "The Summary Care Record provides quick access to patient's medical history, and in an emergency time is of the essence.
"Being able to find out relevant information about current medication, for example, enables NHS staff to provide the safest care possible, as quickly as possible – wherever in England that patient requires medical care.
"The Record is also of great benefit for more routine medical matters, as every medic involved in a patient's care will be able to have swift access to the most up-to-date medical records available.
"Patients can opt out of the SCR if they wish, and of course they can opt in at a later date if they change their mind."
The Summary Care Record differs from the Hampshire Health Record as the only information it contains relates to a patient's medication, allergies and any previous bad reactions to medicines. The Hampshire Health Record captures more information but it is only accessible to Hampshire NHS staff.
The Summary Care Record affects patients living in Hampshire.