NHS East of England has started the roll-out of the Summary Care Record and says it will be available in all its primary care trusts by the end of 2010.

The strategic health authority plans to follow the lead set by one of its PCTs, NHS South West Essex, which has already created SCRs for a third of the population. The SHA said an SCR would soon to be available for more than half of the 440,000 patients registered with GPs in South West Essex.

NHS South West Essex was one of six early adopter areas for the SCR and the SHA said more than 50 GP surgeries in South Wes t Essex had so far signed up to the SCR scheme.

Graham Folmer, chief information officer for NHS East of England, said there was strong evidence from SCR early adopters across the country of improvements in out-of-hours care.

He added: “The Summary Care Record ensures that doctors have reliable, relevant, up-to-date information at their fingertips in situations where time is critical. This can improve the safety and treatment of care provided to patients.”

The official launch of the SCR in NHS East of England follows the launch of the SCR in London last week.

NHS Connecting for Health said SCRs have been uploaded in ten areas of the country and that more than 1.6m people in 16 areas of the country have received letters about SCRs.

The average opt-out rate is 0.8%. Latest statistics for the week beginning 19 November show 717,105 SCRs have now been created on the Spine.