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Medical Records

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the procedure is for patients to choose not to have a summary care record; and what steps general practitioners have to take to put that choice into effect. (204219)

Currently, patients who do not want a summary care record (SCR) are advised to make their wishes known to their general practice. Guidance has been issued to all general practices entitled “Guidance On Managing Requests For No Summary Care Record During The Period Of The Early Adopter Programme” on how they should respond to patients’ inquiries about their options in relation to SCR, including to those patients who have decided not to have a SCR. Copies of the guidance have been placed in the Library and are also available at:

The essence of the guidance is that practices should ensure patients fully understand the implications of their decision, and that a record is kept to that effect, signed both by the patient, and on behalf of the practice.

SCRs cannot be created without the agreement and co-operation of general practitioners, who are currently the data controllers for the records from which the relevant data will be uploaded. The Department can only recommend that practices follow its advice in line with the guidance.

These and other practical aspects of how patients are able to exercise the choices they have in relation to the SCR will be among the key issues to be reviewed by the summary care record advisory group in light of the recently published independent evaluation of the SCR Early Adopters Programme in order to inform the future roll-out of the SCR.