Information for patients explaining how health and social care organisations may use your Summary Care Record information within the health and social care system to protect you and others during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The health and social care system is facing significant pressures due to the coronavirus outbreak. Health and care information is essential to deliver care to individuals, to support health and social care services and to protect public health. Information will also be vital in researching, monitoring, tracking and managing the outbreak. In the current emergency, it has become even more important to share health and care information across relevant organisations.
This notice describes how GPs and other health and social care organisations may use your information within the health and social care system to protect you and others during the Coranavirus (COVID-19) outbreak with regard to your Summary Care Record.
Summary Care Records
All patients registered with a GP have a Summary Care Record, unless they have chosen not to have one. The information held in your Summary Care Record gives registered and regulated healthcare professionals, away from your usual GP practice, access to information to provide you with safer care, reduce the risk of prescribing errors and improve your patient experience.
Your Summary Care Record contains basic (Core) information about allergies and medications and any reactions that you have had to medication in the past.
Some patients, including many with long term health conditions, previously have agreed to have Additional Information shared as part of their Summary Care Record. This Additional Information includes information about significant medical history (past and present), reasons for medications, care plan information and immunisations.
Change to information held in your Summary Care Record
In light of the current emergency, the Department of Health and Social Care has removed the requirement for a patient’s prior explicit consent to share Additional Information as part of the Summary Care Record.
This is because the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has issued a legal notice to healthcare bodies requiring them to share confidential patient information with other healthcare bodies where this is required to diagnose, control and prevent the spread of the virus and manage the pandemic. This includes sharing Additional Information through Summary Care Records, unless a patient objects to this.
If you have already expressed a preference to only have Core information shared in your Summary Care Record, or to opt-out completely of having a Summary Care Record, these preferences will continue to be respected and this change will not apply to you. For everyone else, the Summary Care Record will be updated to include the Additional Information. This change of requirement will be reviewed after the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Why we have made this change
In order to look after your health and care needs, health and social care bodies may share your confidential patient information contained in your Summary Care Record with clinical and non-clinical staff in other health and care organisations, for example hospitals, NHS 111 and out of hours organisations. These changes will improve the healthcare that you receive away from your usual GP practice.
Your rights in relation to your Summary Care Record
Regardless of your past decisions about your Summary Care Record preferences, you will still have the same options that you currently have in place to opt out of having a Summary Care Record, including the opportunity to opt-back in to having a Summary Care Record or opt back in to allow sharing of Additional Information.
You can exercise these rights by doing the following:
- Choose to have a Summary Care Record with all information shared. This means that any authorised, registered and regulated health and care professionals will be able to see a detailed Summary Care Record, including Core and Additional Information, if they need to provide you with direct care.
- Choose to have a Summary Care Record with Core information only. This means that any authorised, registered and regulated health and care professionals will be able to see limited information about allergies and medications in your Summary Care Record if they need to provide you with direct care.
- Choose to opt-out of having a Summary Care Record altogether. This means that you do not want any information shared with other authorised, registered and regulated health and care professionals involved in your direct care. You will not be able to change this preference at the time if you require direct care away from your GP practice. This means that no authorised, registered and regulated health and care professionals will be able to see information held in your GP records if they need to provide you with direct care, including in an emergency.
To make these changes, you should inform your GP practice or complete this form and return it to your GP practice.
For more information about these changes see the following resources:
- press release on better information sharing for doctors and nurses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
- Summary Care Records
- Summary Care Records for patients including additional information
This privacy notice supplements your GP practice’s main privacy notice.
Changes to this privacy notice
This notice may be amended at any time, so please review it frequently. The date at the top of this page will be amended each time this notice is updated.