A GROUP in Shropshire which keeps watch on the National Health Service (NHS) is trying to raise awareness of a scheme allowing patients to share their GP records with hospitals.

Healthwatch Shropshire, which acts like a watchdog over NHS services in the county, wants patients to be aware of the scheme which enables them, unless they have opted out, to share their Summary Care Record.

This record includes basic details such as date of birth, allergies and current prescriptions. However there is also a scheme, Summary Care Record Additional Information (SCRai), where patients can opt in to share details of:

· long term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart problems

· Relevant medical history such a clinical procedures, why you need a particular medicine and the care you are currently receiving

· Healthcare needs and personal preferences – such as particular communication needs, a long term condition you would like managed in a certain way or you may have made legal decisions or have preferences about your care that you would like known

· Immunisations – details of previous vaccinations such as tetanus and routine childhood jabs

Not many patients in Shropshire have decided to make this available and Healthwatch Shropshire is trying to raise awareness of the scheme so people can opt in if they think it will help their care.

Lynn Cawley, chief Officer, at Healthwatch Shropshire, said: “Essential details about your healthcare can be very difficult to remember, particularly when you are unwell, perhaps having been rushed to hospital.

"Having additional information in your Summary Care Record means that when you need healthcare this information will be available to the clinician providing treatment for you, no matter which NHS organisation they work for.

"Certain vulnerable patient groups such as those with dementia or with detailed and complex health problems can particularly benefit from a SCRai. If you are a carer for another person and believe they may benefit, then you can discuss this with them and their GP practice.

"Anybody wishing to find out more or set up the SCRai should contact their GP."

Healthwatch Shropshire is the independent consumer champion for health and social care in Shropshire.