NHS Southwark has been named as the first primary care trust in London to roll-out the Summary Care Record and will go-live with it in November.

The Princess Street Group Practice in the Elephant and Castle area has already started sending letters to local patients, telling them about the SCR and the options that they have for creating and sharing their records.

Dr Sam Soo, a GP at the practice, said: “We would encourage all our patients to allow their records to be loaded onto the system.

"Access to the SCR will allow clinicians to find out what the patient’s current medication is, any allergy details and if they suffer any bad reactions to medicines, helping to make sure that any treatment given is safe and appropriate.”

Patients are able to opt out of the SCR by informing the practice in writing within 12 weeks of receiving the letter.

Dr Jane Fryer, medical director at NHS Southwark and a local GP, said: “The SCR is all about improving patient care. I would find it tremendously helpful to be able to look at patients records if they were using my surgery for the first time to make sure I was giving appropriate treatment.

“I would also want another clinician giving treatment to one of my patients to be able to look at their records to make sure their treatment was right as well.”

NHS Southwark said it will also be setting up a system for patients to register with HealthSpace so that where patients can view their SCR online.

A statement provided to EHI Primary Care from the NHS London Programme for IT confirmed that Southwark would be going live before the end of the year.

It said: “It is anticipated that the records of patients will begin to be uploaded onto the national system from November 2009. It will then be rolled out across other Southwark practices over the next couple of years.

“The introduction of the SCR is part of a drive to introduce electronic patient records across the capital to improve patient care. Rollout of the SCR in London is expected to be undertaken gradually over the next two or three years.”

The SCR has already been piloted in Bolton, Bury, Bradford, Dorset, South West Essex and South Birmingham.