BlogThe ABCs of SCRs: Accessing your Summary Care Record

The ABCs of SCRs: Accessing your Summary Care Record

7 min read

Lucy MacKinnon

Accessing SCR for Medical Cannabis
When exploring medical cannabis as a treatment option in the UK, your journey begins with an essential step: a thorough evaluation of your eligibility. Here the clinical team have to establish a comprehensive understanding of your health history, which they do by asking for permission to access your health records, or your Summary Care Record (SCR). 


Established by the NHS in England, Summary Care Records are automatically created when a patient registers with a GP, and they serve as a digitised synopsis of the patient’s key clinical information. 

SCRs offer a reliable and accessible source of information for various healthcare professionals involved in a patient’s care and are compiled from the notes taken during GP visits and appointments. 

Around 98% of all NHS General Practitioners use the SCR system, which was introduced in 2010 to reduce the risk of prescribing errors, ensure safer care and an improved, seamless healthcare experience.

But you may be wondering, what’s featured on your SCR, or why medical cannabis clinics need access to them in order to assess your eligibility - and that’s where we come in. 

Here we’ve spelled out the ABCs of SCRs, to put your mind at ease.

What content is included in a Summary Care Record (SCR)?

Summary Care Records come in two primary forms: the core SCR, and the SCRai. 

The core SCR contains a patient’s basic information including their full name, date of birth and NHS number. They also provide brief information about long term health conditions, or significant medical history, as well as any medications they may be taking, allergies they suffer from, or adverse reactions they are known to experience to certain types of medication. 

However, around 58 million people are believed to have an SCRai, which is an SCR that contains additional information, also sometimes known as an enriched SCR. 

In enriched SCRs, or SCRais, healthcare professionals document or record lifestyle information that relates to the patient. Smoker status or alcohol consumption rate is often noted in SCRais, as well as notes on treatment preferences, or reasonable adjustments that should be made during the patients' treatment.

In SCRais, typically the reason behind prescribing certain medications is explained, whilst SCRs only tend to contain the name and dosage of the medications the patient is currently prescribed. SCRais also typically contain information relating to hospitalisations, immunisations or X-ray, scan, and test results that may be relevant when treating that patient to ensure patients receive the appropriate care. 

Can I request for information to be added to by SCR?


Patient’s can speak to their GP and request to add any information to their SCR that they believe may be useful or of relevance to those treating them. This could include adding a note on your SCR to say they are seeing a private therapist, chiropractor, or physiotherapist outside the NHS.

Sensitive Information and Privacy in SCRs

There are certain types of information that aren’t included in SCRs of any kind, because it is considered as protected and sensitive data by the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Data relating to pregnancy terminations, fertility treatments, gender reassignment and sexually transmitted diseases are all automatically excluded from SCRs and SCRais for this reason, unless the patient has opted into having this information included.

It is also important to mention that not all medications or medical history will automatically appear on Summary Care Records. This is because this care or treatment is not always administered or prescribed by the patient’s GP, which is the SCR’s source of information. 

If a patient has received treatment in a hospital, A&E, at a private medical centre, or a dentist for example, the information isn’t automatically sent over – instead it should be updated manually. 

It is essential that this is done to ensure that patients receive the best care, and so healthcare professionals can make informed and appropriate clinical decisions when caring for, or treating, the patient by having up-to-date information.

Why do medical cannabis clinics need to access SCRs?

In order to ensure that each patient receives the most suitable care for their condition, SCRs need to be assessed by medical cannabis clinics to see what has been successful and unsuccessful in treating the patient previously. 

By reviewing how the patient has responded to other treatments, clinical teams like ours here at Releaf, can evaluate whether medical cannabis may be an appropriate treatment for the patient and suitably manage specific symptoms they are struggling with.

Having all of this information summarised in a snapshot format makes it much easier for clinical teams to digest and ensures prescribing, or treatment decisions, are made in an informed and timely manner, to best benefit the patient.

Any and all health care professionals that wish to view a patient’s SCR must have a legitimate relationship with the patient, or to their care and treatment. The patient should always be asked for their permission before the records are accessed, unless it is deemed they are acting in the best interest of the patient. But rest assured, here at Releaf we always ask for permission before viewing SCRs. 

Accessing Your Summary Care Record: A step-by-step guide

To access your SCR, the most direct approach is to request your GP shares this digital document with you. This can normally be completed within a few weeks. 

Alternatively, you can request access to your SCR via the NHS app or website. Once you’ve created an account and verified your identity, you will be able to see the information contained within your SCR relating to your medicines or allergies. To get online access to your complete SCR or SCRai, you will have to speak to your GP directly, who can then authorise and approve this.

Some GP services also have their own online systems that allow patients to view or download their health records. Again, this often has to be approved by the patient’s GP, and so it may be quicker to just speak to them directly. 

Or, with your permission, medical cannabis clinics like Releaf can request access to your SCR on your behalf, which can be done simply using your NHS number. After viewing your SCR, the clinical team will be able to evaluate whether medical cannabis could be the right option for you, and if so, invite you for your first consultation with a specialist doctor.


To summarise, accessing your Summary Care Record is a fundamental step in accessing your suitability for medical cannabis treatment. SCRs, whether core or SCRai, provide vital clinical insights and enable healthcare professionals to make well-informed decisions.

Accessing this concise summary expedites and streamlines the decision-making and prescribing processes, ultimately benefiting the patient’s overall care and experience, which is something we strive to do here at Releaf.

Releaf is committed to helping you access the benefits of a medical cannabis service. Our monthly packages are tailored to your cannabis prescription, and we offer specialist consultations for medical cannabis and a unique medical cannabis card for protection. 

It is important to seek medical advice before starting any new treatments. The patient advisors at Releaf are available to provide expert advice and support. Alternatively, click here to book a consultation with one of our specialist doctors.

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With five years of journalism and healthcare content creation under her belt, Lucy strives to improve medical cannabis awareness and access in the UK by producing high quality, credible content.

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