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Scotland has gone live with its Emergency Care Summary (ECS) for every patient.

All 14 NHS boards went live with the system run by Atos Origin this summer following a successful pilot, Scottish health minister Andy Kerr has announced.

He said the ECS will contain important basic information such as name, date of birth, Community Health Index, medication prescribed by a GP, and any adverse reactions to prescribed medicines.

NHS Scotland said NHS staff will only be able to access the information on Scotland's 2.5m patients using a password and the system is protected using the "highest standards of security".

It will be possible to check who has looked at the patient's ECS. Patients can ask their GP to show them the information in their own summary.

Kerr said: "This new shared record means that NHS staff who need it to look after you can get important information about your health, even if they can't contact your GP. Health workers will also have a more complete picture of a patient's health and medical background."

NHS staff will have to ask the patient's permission before they can look at the ECS, except in the event the patient is unconscious or unable to give consent.

Staff authorised to access the information include: doctors, nurses and receptionists in out of hours medical centres; staff at NHS 24 involved in the patients care and staff in accident and emergency departments.

NHS Scotland is also aiming to store and link full health records electronically by 2010.

"In the future, all health records will be stored and linked electronically and that will bring great benefits over the old paper files kept in different places and electronic records that are not linked up," said Kerr.

NHS Scotland spokesperson said: "We will procure the system this year to start implementation in 2007."

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

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