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Summary Care Records


Issue five - 10/02/13

Summary Care Records are full steam ahead in 2013

We've entered 2013 with some great momentum. Almost 23m people - more than one in three of the population - now have a Summary Care Record (SCR).

50 PCTs across England have created SCRs for more than 60% of their patients, and 17 of these have created records for more than 80%.

One of the factors fuelling the adoption of the SCR is the fact that, with EMIS Web recently gaining full roll-out approval, almost all GP IT systems (more than 90%) now have the ability to create them!

Ensuring that the viewing of these records becomes part of business-as-usual within urgent and emergency care is a major area of focus in 2013. Viewings are certainly on the increase - see our article below - and, as this happens, the emerging benefits documented in the 'Clinical use of the SCR' report are becoming more and more evident.

We've seen particular benefits in hospital pharmacy over the last 12 months, with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust just one of many trusts reporting improvements in medicines reconciliation and patient safety as a result of accessing SCRs.

If you are working to implement SCRs, or to use and realise benefits from them, thank you for your support and hard work in 2012. There are a number of exciting developments in the pipeline this year so please make sure to keep an eye on future bulletins, sign up to our Twitter feed and encourage your colleagues to do the same.

It's about time for SCRs in Greenwich

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With a population of over 280,000 people, Greenwich has always been known for its landmark observatory and its links with time systems. Greenwich also hosted the Olympic Equestrian competitions during the summer.

Now there's another reason to notice Greenwich as last year the area became the first in London to achieve full roll-out of the SCR to its GP practices.

Matt Watson, Senior Implementation Manager for the SCR team in the capital, says: "I'm very proud that Greenwich has achieved this major milestone. In urgent and emergency care settings, the ability to view the SCR can help ensure patients get the right medication and the proper diagnosis.

"And, because Greenwich is such a densely populated area, the demands for urgent and emergency care there are high.

"I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the roll-out of SCRs in the area. Without their support and hard work it would have been impossible to reach this milestone."

Momentum is growing in London. Numerous practices are now actively creating SCRs for their patients and a number of SCR viewing projects are also underway.

Watch out for more news from the capital next issue.

SCR's festive cheer

The figures for SCR viewing reached a new high over the festive period – 5210 in a week. While we still have a long way to go in making SCR viewing part of business-as-usual in urgent and emergency care, it's a positive sign and confirms a long term upward trend.

One of the reasons out-of-hours access increased was because patients had limited access to their GP practices.

We received plenty of positive feedback from pharmacy staff over this period.

One medicines management technician in a London hospital said that using the SCR had avoided a prolonged stay for a patient. With the patient’s permission to view, staff were able to see the patient's SCR, find out what medicines they were taking and prescribe the correct medication without delay.

At Warrington & Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, a pharmacist said: "Using TPP and SCR is helping me complete more drug histories within the time limit requested by the MRHA*. It means I can address problems a lot quicker. Patients are very happy to allow me to access their records. I wish all GPs were using the system."

Another pharmacist, from Northumbria NHS Trust which began viewing SCRs just before Christmas, said that it was the best present they could have received.

*Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

Top tips

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We're keen to share top tips, good practices and lessons learned in this bulletin. Here's some advice from members of our Business Change team:

Senior Implementation Manager Sharon Wilson says:

"Boost patient knowledge and reduce the number of questions that have to be asked about the SCR by proactively letting people know the trust is viewing them. Use communications materials in letters, around the wards and waiting areas.

"If you're working in urgent and emergency care and need to ask patients for permission to view their SCR, keep it simple. Words like “is it OK if the staff looking after you take a look at relevant information in your GP record?” work well."

Colleague Fintan Grant suggests the following:

"Use the casualty card to your advantage. Ask the permission to view question during triage and then record it visibly on the card. This will help ensure that staff involved in the patients' care can note that permission has already been granted."

North East case studies show how easy it is to create SCRs

A set of five case studies has been produced to share the experiences of GP practices with the SCR across the North East.

The case studies highlight the benefits the SCR has brought to both practices and patients across the region. The practices are also unanimous in agreeing that the work to create SCRs is a lot less than expected.

Office Manager Jamie Rowe, based at Eston Surgery in South Bank, says: “SCR doesn’t create much work – it doesn’t involve the practice doing much to set it up and the PCT were really helpful.”

Practice Manager Sue Shone from Branch End Surgery in Stocksfield has appreciated the support from her PCT too, and adds: "SCRs are a benefit for patients when they are treated away from a practice. We think that SCRs are a positive step forward for patients."

To find out more check out the case studies in the GP section of our case studies web page

SCR numbers

We've got a great springboard from which to make further progress in 2013.

As at 5/2/13:

  • 22,580,929 SCRs have been created nationally.
  • 3,164 practices are live with the SCR.
  • There have been 242,341 clinical accesses of the SCR in urgent and emergency care.
  • 41,560,182 patients have been written to as part of a public information programme.
  • Only 1.34% of patients have opted out of having an SCR.

Subscribers heading towards 1400

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We're now up to 1366 subscribers - and we're keen to recruit more!

Please do forward this bulletin to anyone who you think may be interested and encourage your colleagues to sign up. Subscription is a quick and easy process and can be done via our website.

Creating SCRs with EMIS Web

Full roll-out approval was granted in October 2012 for SCR functionality in EMIS Web. If you have this system, or plan to migrate to it in the near future, you can now place an order with EMIS to enable the SCR functionality.

This enables GP practices with EMIS Web to create SCRs for patients who are registered at their practice and who have consented.

As of December 2012, 1768 practices were using EMIS Web. More than 190 of these were able to create SCRs, with this figure set to increase substantially in the coming months.

Phase two of EMIS Web, which is currently going through testing, will introduce ‘Permission to View’. This functionality, which will enable practices to view SCRs for temporary patients, should be available in EMIS Web in early 2013.


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Come and follow us...

We're now being followed by almost 400 people on Twitter and the number is rising every day. Twitter is a great way for us to keep NHS staff involved in implementing the SCR up-to-speed with what's happening nationally, regionally and locally. 

We're also being followed by more and more patient groups and charities, who are becomingly increasingly interested in what the SCR can offer for those they represent.

To follow the SCR on Twitter, visit

A happy customer

Staff at Musgrove Hospital have been giving the thumbs-up to SCRs.

The records are now being viewed in a number of departments such as pharmacy and A&E. Mandy Coombs, matron of the trauma and orthopaedic wards for the pre-assessment clinic, is one of the staff now benefitting.

"Patients often arrive not knowing what medications they are taking and particularly in what doses," says Mandy. "Since we have been able to use SCRs we have been able, with patients' permission, to access details of the medications prescribed by their GPs. This has saved numerous phone calls and faxes to the GP surgeries, or the patients having to phone in with their medications later.

"It means we have the information available at the time the patient is with us so we can advise about any medications that they need to stop, or carry on taking, before they come into hospital.

"We have also been able to identify a couple of patients who have had drug sensitivities that they forgot to mention."

Latest GP practice guide now available

Our GP practice pack was updated towards the end of last year to reflect changes to the SCR functionality in GP IT systems.

The guide is intended to provide GP practices with an awareness of SCRs and the role they play in creating them and supporting patients. 

Among other things the changes cover: the activation of the new SCR consent preferences and codes in various systems; the release of TPP SystmOne R6.01, which has a number of significant enhancements to SCR functionality including the ability to view SCRs for temporary residents; and the release of the SCR-compliant EMIS Web functionality discussed above.

Download the guide now

NHS Sussex – SCRs in prisons

HMP Lewes, a category B prison for more than 700 adult men, is one of the first in the country to view SCRs.

A national IT system in prisons already provides electronic records of health care that prisoners have received while in custody. However, the prison says the SCR comes into its own for people being admitted to prison for the first time, or for repeat offenders who have been out of prison for a while and accessing local primary care services.

Denise Bowden from HMP Lewes says: "People being admitted to prison may have health problems which are exacerbated by their lifestyles. They may be homeless or substance abusers or have mental health issues, and may not be able to provide the most accurate picture of their own health. The SCR enables us to see important medical information immediately."

Read more about use of the SCR at HMP Lewes

Next SCR bulletin due mid April

Please get in touch if you would like to suggest any content.

We're especially on the look-out for local stories about how the SCR is making a difference to patients and healthcare professionals. Our contact details are at the bottom of this bulletin. You could also send us a tweet!

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