Accessing Summary Care Records


Summary Care Records (SCR) are an electronic record of important patient information, created from GP medical records. They can be seen and used by authorised staff in other areas of the health and care system involved in the patient's direct care.

Access to Summary Care Records requires an NHS Smart Card and all access is closely monitored - you must not view a SCR unless you have the Patients's Permission to View (PTV). Please ask your Area Team for more information.

Top tasks

Health and care staff can access the SCR in certain areas via the Dental Referral Application.

Patients can ask to view or add information to their SCR by visiting their GP practice. For more patient information see your health records - NHS.UK.

Access to SCR information means that care in other settings is safer, reducing the risk of prescribing errors. It also helps avoid delays to urgent care.

At a minimum, the SCR holds important information about;

  • current medication
  • allergies and details of any previous bad reactions to medicines
  • the name, address, date of birth and NHS number of the patient

The patient can also choose to include additional information in the SCR, such as details of long-term conditions, significant medical history, or specific communications needs.

Using SCR

The SCR can be viewed by health and care staff. SCRs can be viewed through clinical systems or through the SCRa web viewer, from a machine logged in to the secure NHS network, using a smartcard with the appropriate Role Based Access Control codes set. The dental referral PReSS application has an integrated SCR viewer.

Viewing SCRs

The SCR can be viewed by health and care staff, and viewing is now being rolled out to community pharmacies. SCRs can be viewed through clinical systems or through the SCRa web viewer, from a machine logged in to the secure NHS network, using a smartcard with the appropriate Role Based Access Control codes set.

Read more on viewing SCR and implementing viewing in your organisation

Here is a brief video showing how SCR can be accessed via the PReSS system:

Security and the SCR

Data within the SCR is protected by secure technology. Users must have a smartcard with the correct codes set. Each use is recorded. A patient can ask to see the record of who has looked at their SCR, from the viewing organisation. This is called a 'Subject Access Request'.

Patient data is protected by strict information governance rules and procedures. Each organisation using the SCR has at least one privacy officer who is responsible for monitoring access and can generate audits and reports.

A patient can also opt out of having an SCR by returning a completed opt-out form to their GP practice.

Information for Clinical Commissioning Groups and others responsible for health planning

Use of SCR is featured in NHS England's Universal capabilities information and resources for helping organisations to fulfil commitments in their Local Digital Roadmaps and Sustainability and Transformation Plans.

SCR helps organisations fulfil capabilities:

  • A: professionals across care settings can access GP held information on GP prescribed medications, patient allergies and adverse reactions (SCR core functionality)
  • B: Clinicians in urgent and emergency care settings can access key GP-held information for patients previously identified by GPs as most likely to present in urgent and emergency care) (SCR with additional information)
  • H: Professionals across care settings made aware of end-of-life preference information (SCR with additional information)

Further information

  1. Summary Care Record (SCR) in community pharmacy

    NHS Digital is working to make sure all community pharmacies can view Summary Care Records (SCR).

  2. Information governance for Summary Care Records (SCR)

    Information governance for Summary Care Records (SCR) is about making sure patient information is secure and only accessed appropriately.

  3. Summary Care Records (SCR) - information for patients

    Your Summary Care Record is a short summary of your GP medical records. It tells other health and care staff who care for you about the medicines you take and your allergies.

  4. Additional information in SCR

    Guidance for GPs to use SCR to make more information available across care settings.

  5. Viewing Summary Care Records (SCR)

    Find out about viewing Summary Care Records (SCR), including ways to connect to SCR on the Spine and how to set up your healthcare organisation to view SCRs.

  6. Summary Care Record (SCR): GDPR information

    Why and how we process your data in the Summary Care Record system, and your rights.