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Information to save your life!

PUBLISHED: 08:31 02 April 2010 | UPDATED: 21:46 02 July 2010

IMAGINE you are hit by a car and badly hurt (sorry, it s not a nice thought!). You need to be rushed to hospital for urgent treatment. You are in shock and barely conscious. You d expect that the ambulance staff that took you to the closest A&E or the do

IMAGINE you are hit by a car and badly hurt (sorry, it's not a nice thought!). You need to be rushed to hospital for urgent treatment. You are in shock and barely conscious.

You'd expect that the ambulance staff that took you to the closest A&E or the doctors and nurses who care for your injuries would be able to get information about your allergies or medicines you are taking from your medical records immediately, wouldn't you? Unfortunately this is not the case. Currently your GP and the other clinicians who care for you all keep separate records about you. They can share information if requested by you or a clinician and this can be done by secure letter, email, fax or telephone. This can be slow and is not available every hour of every day.

Over the next year NHS Newham will introduce Summary Care Records and it could save your life. A summary care record will allow clinicians, with your permission, to share aspects of your care so if you end up in hospital they can access your records quickly. The benefits are even greater for people who have a long term health condition like diabetes. You don't need to keep telling clinicians and health carers your story over and over and you can take more control of you health care by being able to access your records.

What is the NHS Care Records Service?

The NHS Care Records Service is a secure electronic service that links information about your care from different parts of the NHS so that health-care staff and you can access it when it is needed.

What will my Summary Care Record say?

At first, it will contain information about any allergies you may have, bad reactions to medicines and medicines that you are taking. You can choose what information is available to those treating you.

Who can and can't see my Summary Care Record?

NHS staff who are involved in your care are only allowed to view your Summary Care Record. They can only access your record if you give them your permission. However, they may access it if you are in an accident or emergency and you are unable to give permission. Once Summary Care Records are launched you will be able to see your Summary Care Record whenever you want to online through a website called HealthSpace.

Will the NHS ask my permission to create my Summary Care Record?

Everyone registered to a GP in Newham have been sent a letter about Summary Care Records. If you do not want a Summary Care Record then you can fill in a form and return it to your GP Practice.

What will happen if I choose not have a Summary Care Record?

The NHS will always endeavour to provide you with the best care possible. However, it could mean that there might be times when key health information about you is not available. For example, if you do not have a Summary Care Record and are taken into A&E or you need to see an after hours doctor then staff treating you may not be able to access your current medications, allergies or bad reactions to medicines if they cannot access your Summary Care Record.

I want to know more? An information service about Summary Care Records is available. To contact the service phone 0845 603 851 or email: nhscarerecords@nhs.net or website: www.nhscarerecords.nhs.uk. Information is available in many different languages.

* If you have a question for an NHS Newham doctor please write to: Ask an NHS Newham doctor, Communications, Warehouse K, 2 Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, London E16 1DR or e-mail communications@newhampct.nhs.uk. So we can respond directly to you please give your name and contact address or e-mail address.

Dr Kate Corlett

Medical Director

NHS Newham


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