NHS clinicians will be able to find patient medical details
much more quickly, with the introduction of an Emergency Care Summary
(ECS) for every patient, Health Minister Andy Kerr said today.
The ECS is designed to allow NHS staff to find a patient's details
much more quickly than is possible under current arrangements.
It will contain important basic information such as name, date of
birth, CHI (Community Health Index) number, medication prescribed by
a GP and any adverse reactions to prescribed medicines.
A leaflet - Your Emergency Care Summary - is being distributed to
all 2.5 million households in Scotland with a further 400,000 sent
to GP practices, primary and secondary care services.
The leaflet is the first in a series informing the public about the
eventual transition to fully electronic health records.
Mr Kerr said:
" At the moment, although GPs have your details, it is difficult
for other health workers to access them out of hours, or in an emergency.
_ This new shared record means that
NHS staff who need it to look after you can get important information
about your health, even if
they can't contact your GP. Health workers will have a more complete
picture of a patient's health and medical background.
_ The Emergency Care Summary might
be important if you need urgent medical care when your GP surgery
is closed, or when you go to an accident
and emergency department.
_ In the future, all health records
will be stored and linked electronically, and that will bring great
benefits over the old paper
files kept in different places and electronic records that are not
Douglas Sinclair, Chair of the Scottish Consumer Council, welcomed
the wide distribution of the leaflet:
" Our research with the public has shown that people want
to kept fully informed of how their personal health information is
shared. This leaflet drop is an important step in ensuring that people
in Scotland understand what is happening and what their rights are
in this area."
NHS staff will have to ask the patient's permission before they can
look at the ECS, except in the event that the patient is unconscious
or unable to give consent.
The staff that will be able to access the information will be:
- doctors, nurses and receptionists in out-of-hours medical centres
- staff at NHS 24 involved in the patient's care
- staff in hospital accident and emergency departments
The ECS is stored electronically using the highest standards of
security and can only be accessed by NHS staff using a password.
It will be possible to check who has looked at a patient's ECS. Patients
can ask their GP to show them the information in their own summary.
If a patient does not want to have an ECS, they can ask their GP surgery
to remove their details.