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A milestone 40 million patients now have a Summary Care Record and health professionals are using them to improve and speed up patient care every 30 seconds.
NHS England is delighted by the achievement and is now focusing on rolling it out in A&E, NHS 111, and GP out-of-hours services.
Usage of the SCR is up with clinicians viewing them more than 19,000 times a week or once every 30 seconds.
Beverley Bryant, director of strategic systems and technology, NHS England, said: “NHS England are delighted that this significant milestone has been achieved. The value of Summary Care Record is being seen in a number of care settings with viewing volumes now growing quickly on the back of the great progress in making records available. This in turn is driving the main objectives which are improvement in patient care and efficiencies in the NHS.”
The Summary Care Record (SCR) is an electronic record containing information about patients including allergies, medications and adverse reactions. It is pulled from GP systems which can be viewed by health professionals involved in a patient’s care.
Having this information stored in one place makes it easier for healthcare staff to treat patients in an emergency, or when their GP practice is closed.
Mrs Bryant added: “Clinicians across all care settings are keen to use the SCR because they can see it is working for them giving them succinct, easy to access information about their patients. It speeds up their work, makes the process much easier and prevents the patient having to repeat the same information several times.”
The SCR is one of the key projects of the National Programme for IT in the NHS.
Despite initial hesitancy from the public and health professionals around consent and confidentiality it has now been proven a fast and effective system for patients.
Initially, privacy campaigners and medical groups argued patients were not sufficiently informed about the creation of the first, national database of patient records, and that they should opt-in rather than out.
The SCR was given the go-head by the present government on an opt-out basis.
In July 2013, it was expanded to include patients’ end-of-life care information, immunisations, and significant past problems and procedures.
GP practices will be required to provide an automated upload of their summary information to the SCR, or have published plans in place to achieve this, by the end of March next year.
The new GP contract also requires GPs to give patients online access to the held in the SCR by this date.