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Electronic Record means faster, safer care

Patients seeking emergency treatment in County Durham are among the first in the North East to get faster and safer care thanks to a new electronic patient record.

Summary Care Records (SCRs) are being created for patients across England to enable healthcare staff treating them in emergencies to find vital health information instantly via their ward computers.

In many hospitals, sourcing basic health information from busy GP practices takes time and when surgeries are closed in the evenings and at weekends there is usually no access to patient's records for doctors and pharmacists.

Laura Smith, senior clinical pharmacist, explains how the SCR is working on the medical admissions ward at University Hospital of North Durham: "If a patient has an SCR, it's a big help. With a few clicks of the mouse I can get the information I need on their medications, without waiting around to receive the information from their GP surgery.

"Prescribing insulin for patients with diabetes is a good example of how SCRs improve patient care and support patient safety.

"Patients are often able to say how much insulin they take but cannot be certain which one of the seven or eight different types of insulin they use.

"Getting the brand wrong can be fatal and so the more information we have the better. SCR allows us to provide the most appropriate treatment more quickly."

Published: 4 April 2012

'Every aspect of my emergency care was dealt with quickly, efficiently and professionally with full explanations and compassion from all staff involved'.

Patient, Emergency Department, Darlington Memorial Hospital