Public Services > Central Government

NHS Digital discusses Summary Care Record benefits

Matteo Natalucci Published 28 September 2017

Executive director Eve Roodhouse says making more use of electronic Summary Care Records could make a big impact on improving patient care”


NHS Digital executive director Eve Roodhouse has argued that progress in use of Summary Care Records (SCR) is a vital part of bringing health and social care together.

Delivering a keynote speech at the UK Health Show in London, Roodhouse stressed the importance of investing in digital technology to ensure care settings are linked up and able to properly communicate with each other.

The SCR is an electronic record of sensitive patient information, created from GP medical records. It can be seen and used by authorised staff in other areas of the health and care system involved in the patient's direct care.

Roodhouse said, “Every five seconds a clinician accesses an electronic a SCR. This is important information taken from a patient's GP medical records, which can be accessed electronically by an authorised clinician anywhere in the country if they are directly involved in that patient's care. We are approaching universal coverage of pharmacies, with 96 per cent of pharmacies now live with SCR”.

Roodhouse added, "We've been working with Gloucestershire CCG and the CSU to realise the benefits of uploading and sharing additional information across the health community. More than 16,000 records across the county have been uploaded in addition to the standard SCR data, with Gloucestershire Hospitals Trust leading the way with using this information to care for patients.

"With the support of the emergency departments, we supported the CSU in engaging with custody suites, the homeless centre and the Mental Health and Community trusts and we are now working with the ambulance trust to extend viewing even further." Roodhouse added.

Roodhouse focused on the need for organisations to strengthen partnership to make technology and data work for the frontline and for patients.

She also highlighted the need for direction and design of digital technologies and data sharing, which should result from a continuous dialogue between all parts of the system, from local to national organisations.

"It makes sense that services like Spine, the Electronic Prescription Service, e-referrals and NHS Mail, which are massively important to connecting health and care professionals, are delivered centrally as standardised, secure products. Everybody needs them and will use them for the same type of basic activity” Roodhouse said.

She added, "For instance, the NHS needs to send emails to each other and it needs to book appointments with each other. Yet the NHS spends more on postage nationally than it would take to fund more than 2,000 extra nurses.”

"But there are other areas where we all know that a one size fits all approach doesn't work. One example is our Electronic Referral Service. Currently 45,000 people a day use e-RS but by October 2018 we aim to have all first outpatient referrals made electronically. NHS Digital and NHS England are working together to provide support to trusts, helping them individually to make the changes they need before this time next year”, she added.

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