What does this information contain?
This is to let you know about the way we in the NHS store your health records. It tells you about the Emergency Care Summary which all patients in Northern Ireland have, and the benefits of this and explains how all your health records are stored and linked electronically, and why that is good for your healthcare.
What is an Emergency Care Summary?
This is a summary of basic information about your health which might be important if you need urgent medical care when your GP Surgery is closed, or when you go to an Accident & Emergency Department. It means that all NHS staff looking after you can get important information about your health, even if they cannot contact your GP surgery. Please go to Emergency Care Summary for further information.
Your Emergency Care Summary contains the following information.
- Your name
- Your date of birth
- The name of your GP surgery
- Information about any medicines prescribed by your GP surgery
- Any bad reactions you’ve had to medicines that your GP knows about (Allergies)
Your Emergency Care Summary is copied from your GP’s computer system and stored electronically. NHS staff can then find it quickly if they need to see it.
Who can look at my Emergency Care Summary?
NHS staff can look at your Emergency Care Summary on computer if they need to treat you when your GP surgery is closed. They must ask you if you agree to this before they look at your information.
- If you agree, only the staff listed below will be able to look at your Emergency Care Summary
- Doctors, Nurses and Receptionists in out-of-hours medical centres
- Staff within the NHS who are involved in your care
- Staff in hospital accident and emergency departments
- In the future, ambulance staff may also be able to look at your Emergency Care Summary
- If you are unconscious, NHS staff may look at your Emergency Care Summary without your agreement. This is so they can give you the best possible care
How do I know that the information in my Emergency Care Summary is secure?
- The NHS stores your Emergency Care Summary electronically using the highest standards of security
- Only NHS staff directly involved in your medical care will be allowed to look at your Emergency Care Summary
- NHS staff can only look at your Emergency Care Summary if they have a password that allows them to
- A record will be kept of everyone who has looked at your Emergency Care Summary
- Your GP surgery will be able to check who has looked at your record if you want them to
What if I’m not sure that I want an Emergency Care Summary?
- If you don’t want an Emergency Care Summary to be made for you, tell your GP Surgery
- Don’t forget that if you do have an Emergency Care Summary, you will be asked if staff can look at it every time they need to – you don’t have to agree to this
Can I see my Emergency Care Summary?
- If you would like to see your Emergency Care Summary, ask your GP to print it out for you to have a look at
- If you think anything is wrong, ask for it to be changed
What is an electronic health record?
- It is any information about your health and health care which is stored electronically
How are my records stored at the moment?
- Some of your health information is recorded on paper files that are kept in different places. For example, you may have one set of records at your GP Surgery, and another set at any Hospital you have been treated at in the past
- GPs and Hospitals now store some records electronically, but historically the computers they used were not linked up so when you went to a Hospital, staff there could not look at the health records held at your GP Surgery
What are the benefits of electronic health records?
- NHS staff are able to find medical information about you much more quickly
- Staff treating you have a more complete picture of your health and your medical background. For example, we are able to see quickly if you have any long-term medical conditions, or if you have recently had an operation
- This information will be available even when you are not at home – for example, if you are in another part of Northern Ireland
- It will be easier for you to look at your own health records, for example, if you want to check that they are correct
How soon will my electronic health record be complete?
- Current records are stored some electronically, but it will take some time before all your health records are held electronically
- It will also take quite a long time before we are able to link all your records,
- Most test results are now stored on computer. This means your GP gets the results more quickly, without having to wait for a letter
- Letters about your care and treatment are often sent electronically between NHS staff and stored on computer. This may happen if, for example, your GP refers you to Hospital or if you leave Hospital
What if I do not wish my electronic health record to be accessed ?
- Please write to the the Practice Manager and we will update your Practice records accordingly ensuring that your electronic health records will no longer be shared