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Plans for quicker and safer NHS treatment

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12:01am 21st October 2011

Health chiefs in North Yorkshire and York have given the go ahead to start creating electronic summary care records for patients in a move to make emergency care and treatment quicker and safer.

Summary care records contain an electronic summary of important information about a patient's medication, allergies and any previous bad reactions they may have had to medicines. This means that if a patient needs treatment in an emergency or when their GP practice is closed, health professionals involved in their care will be able to access valuable information electronically, to help ensure they are treated in the safest, most effective way possible.

Angela Wood, Assistant Director of Informatics for NHS North Yorkshire and York said:

"Giving health professionals access to summary care records will mean our patients receive even safer care and treatment in emergency situations.

"Currently, the only way that information about medication and allergies can be accessed quickly is if the patient or someone with them is able to tell the health professional treating them. Obviously this isn't always possible so the summary care record will play a major role in ensuring health professionals have access to the relevant information they need."

The project to introduce summary care records in North Yorkshire and York has been underway for some time and has included a significant mail-out to residents across North Yorkshire and York to make them aware of their choices and give them the opportunity to 'opt-out' of the scheme if they wish to do so.

Mrs Wood continued:

"Last year we wrote to people over the age of 16 to tell them about summary care records and give them the option to 'opt-out'.

"Summary care records will be created by each individual GP practice in the area so it will take some time for all the records to be completed. People should bear in mind that they can choose not to have a summary care record at any time."

In order to protect the information stored within the summary care records there are strict procedures about who can access them.  Only authorised staff with a chip-and-pin NHS smartcard who are involved in a patient's treatment will be able to access the information stored within the record and, unlike paper records, an audit trail is generated when a record is viewed.

For more information call the dedicated NHS Summary Care Record Information Line on 0300 123 3020 or visit the website at www.nhscarerecords.nhs.uk.

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