A hard-hitting campaign has been launched in Suffolk today (February 26) to encourage people to give consent for their patient records to be made accessible to health and care professionals in the event of an emergency.
The campaign will see adverts bearing the words ‘Your NHS needs you to share your health record – it could save your life’ – appear on digital bus shelter, petrol forecourt and supermarket displays across the county.
They show a paramedic looking out from the foreground as colleagues treat a collapsed patient behind him, and form part of a county-wide drive to increase the number of people consenting to share their health record.
In an emergency situation it is likely that the person treating you will only have access to your basic health information.
But if you have consented to share your patient record every health professional called upon to treat you will be able to access to more details about your health.Not only will this allow them to deliver the most effective treatment, it could mean the difference between your life and death. The health professional will always ask your permission before looking at your record, except in an emergency.
Most people have a Summary Care Record (SCR) containing basic medical information which is created from their GP record and includes details of the medicines you take and any allergies you might have.
This is the only information that any health professional who needs to treat you in an emergency or out-of-hours setting will have access to.
However, by consenting to share your health record, potentially vital extra information can be added to the SCR, such as the reasons you take certain medication, any diseases you might have and your end of life care preferences.
You also have the option of agreeing to share your full medical record, which enables the health professionals treating you to know more about your health and medical history so they can deliver the most effective and speedy treatment.
It will also avoid the need for you to give details of your condition more than once and reduce the chance of you being asked questions you have already answered.
It’s easy to agree to share – you just need inform staff at your local surgery that’s what you want to do. Alternatively, there’s a form you can fill in, sign and return to your GP practice. You can download it HERE.
The campaign has been launched by the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups (the CCGs).
The CCGs have been working hard with local health partners to encourage as many people as possible to agree to share their health record. Currently around 175,000 people across the county have signed up, compared to just 50,000 in 2015.
Dr John Oates, a GP in Saxmundham and member of the clinical executive of NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “CCG staff discussed the sharing of health records with hundreds of visitors to last year’s Suffolk Show and the vast majority of them had wrongly assumed that health care professionals already have access to patient health records.
“This campaign is a really good initiative to help people understand that record sharing does not happen automatically. If you are being treated in an emergency or out-of-hours setting, and haven’t agreed to share your record, the health professionals who are treating you will only see a very basic snapshot of your health record.
“I would encourage people to consider the consequences if they were unconscious or unable to communicate with those health professionals treating them. It could prevent you from receiving the most appropriate treatment and adversely affect your recovery.
“It only takes a few minutes to complete the form. Please do so. It could save your life.”