Summary Care Records supports Diabetes care
(Published: 11 June 2012)
Summary Care Records (SCRs) can be invaluable for supporting those with diabetes, especially when they need urgent or emergency care such as when their GP practice is closed.
SCRs hold essential information, such as medicines a patient is taking and any allergies or adverse reactions to medicines patients may have had in the past. Additional information may be added with the explicit consent of the patient.
Tracey from Birmingham is living with diabetes. She explains: “There have been times when my diabetes medication has been changed and this resulted in me having a few hypoglycaemic attacks.
“I had to call the emergency services several times and each time I had to explain to the paramedics what was happening; luckily my friend has been with me, on some occasions I was so ill I couldn’t communicate.”
As Tracey’s experiences show, diabetes can be associated with hypoglycaemic attacks (or ‘hypos’). When this occurs a patient may feel confused, disorientated and unable to remember the names of their medication or whether they have any allergies.
SCRs can make a real difference to patients like Tracey, as Dr Caroline Tait from the Health and Social Care Information Centre explains: “People with diabetes have higher blood glucose levels, which can cause serious damage to all organ systems in the body. People with type 1 diabetes are dependent on insulin as their body is unable to produce it.
"There are many different types of insulin, which all work in different ways and have different names. It is important that a patient has the right insulin, at the right dose, at the right time in order to control their diabetes.
“SCRs can support these patients by ensuring that the healthcare staff treating them in urgent and emergency care know exactly what medication for diabetes the patient is taking.”
If a patient with diabetes is admitted to hospital, pharmacists will need to identify the patient’s usual medications. Having access to this information via an SCR will help save pharmacists a lot of time.
In addition, where a patient and their GP believe that additional information will benefit clinicians in urgent and emergency care looking at SCRs, the GP can easily add this to the SCR with the patient’s consent. For someone with diabetes, such information might include:
- the patient’s diabetes care plan;
- any diabetes-related complications that the patient may have (e.g. retinopathy or nephropathy) and particular care needs associated with these, such as visual problems.
SCRs can therefore make a real difference to people living with diabetes. Bridget Turner, Head of Policy and Care Improvement at Diabetes UK, says: “SCRs are an important part of improving access to information which could prove vital in emergency situations to ensure people with diabetes receive timely and appropriate treatment.
“People should be made aware of the benefits and how they can include relevant information to help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of care in emergency situations.”
- Find out whether SCRs are available in your area by checking our deployment map. If they are, and you have diabetes, don’t hesitate to talk to your GP about adding additional information to your record.