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A Summary Care Record (SCR) is something that is assigned to you at birth and holds some important information about you, but many people don’t know what it is. With the new GPhC regulations coming into force for online prescribing you may be hearing about your Summary Care Record a lot more, particularly if you buy your medication online. It’s well worth reading on as we’ve put together lots of information and answered your questions about the SCR and why you may be needing it in the future.
So, what is a Summary Care Record?
A bit like your GP medical record but less detailed, your SCR is an electronic record that holds important medical information about you as a patient right from birth. It includes information about any current medication you’re taking, allergies, any history of serious reactions to medicines, as well as your name, address, date of birth, and NHS number. Your NHS number is assigned to you when you register with the NHS, and each patient has a unique number in order for healthcare professionals and services to identify you.
Summary Care Records can be accessed in England and the purpose of this data is to inform anyone who is providing you with the healthcare for any medical conditions or problems that you may have. This is to ensure that healthcare professionals are aware of your condition before prescribing any medication that might cause a reaction or interfere with any medicines you’re currently taking. If needed, you can also add more information to your SCR if you have, for instance, a long term or complex medical problem.
Why do you need a Summary Care Record?
Having a record of what medication you’re taking and any medical problems you have is useful for occasions when you’re receiving care and medical treatment. Those who are providing you with medical care need to be made aware of these details to ensure that the treatment you’re receiving is suitable for you.
For instance, if you have previously had a bad reaction to certain medications and then you’re prescribed this medication again, this could be really dangerous for your health. You may be in a position where you can’t communicate this which is when your SCR comes in handy. Your reaction will be on record and the person providing treatment will know to avoid giving you this medicine.
Likewise, you may not know if any medication you’re currently taking is likely to interact with any future medicines that are prescribed to you. A trained healthcare professional is able to look at your SCR and identify any possible drug interactions to avoid unpleasant side effects.
A Summary Care Record protects you and enables those who are caring for you to give you the best possible, risk-free treatment.
Who can access your NHS Summary Care Record?
You’re able to access and view your own Summary Care Record at your GP practice if you wish, however, an SCR is intended for healthcare staff who are caring for you. This includes your GP and any health and care workers in services such as 111, A&E, ambulance, GP out of hours, and walk-in centres etc. Some pharmacies are also able to access your Summary Care Record, including online pharmacies or doctor services, and this is soon to be rolled out across all community pharmacies.
It’s important to know that healthcare staff can only access your record with your permission, and you should be asked for your consent before going ahead and viewing this information. Sometimes though, in emergency situations, you may not be able to communicate your consent but those who are treating you might benefit from viewing your SCR, in these cases, it is acceptable for healthcare professionals to access your record without your permission.
Why do Doctor-4-U need access to this?
Here at Doctor-4-U we put patient safety first, and meet all regulations made by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), one of which is to gain consent from our patients to access their Summary Care Record should we need to if they’re ordering certain categories of medicine. However, this will be on a case by case basis, and in the majority of cases, we won’t need access to your SCR due to the categories of medicine we provide. If our online doctors feel that it would be beneficial to access your Summary Care Record to ensure you’re receiving the most suitable treatment, we may ask for your permission to access, however, we will never go ahead with this without your consent and we will never amend your record.
Access to Summary Care Records is just one of the new regulations being introduced for online prescribing. Find out more about the new changes coming into effect at the end of July, here.