Patients’ end-of-life care information, immunisations, and significant past problems and procedures will be added to the NHS Summary Care Record.

New guidance released today by NHS England says its has commissioned the Health and Social Care Information Centre to add immunisations, significant past problems and procedures, end-of-life care information, and other patient preferences to the SCR.

‘Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards: Achieving an integrated digital care record’ describes the SCR is a “key building block” towards achieving an IDCR.

The SCR was one of the key projects of the old National Programme for IT in the NHS.

It was supposed to create the ‘national’ element of an integrated care records service that was otherwise supposed to be delivered by the roll-out of local, detailed care record systems at trusts.

The SCR was held up for years by rows about consent and confidentiality, but eventually given the go-head by the present government.

It provides a core set of required clinical data, including allergies, medications and adverse reactions, pulled from GP systems, which can be viewed by health professionals involved in a patient’s care.

“The increased level of standardised information within the SCR significantly enhances its value to secondary care clinicians,” the new guidance says.

More than half the population of England has an SCR, however usage figures remain low.

In February, figures revealed that while more than 22m summary care records existed, they had only been viewed 240,000 times by urgent care staff.

In a note for the Commons’ Public Accounts Committee, released last month, the National Audit Office revealed that 98% of estimated benefits of the SCR programme were yet to be realised at March 2012.

The NHS England documents says the records are being used by clinicians in out-of-hours settings, emergency departments, health and justice settings and hospital pharmacies.

The document says the number of integrated solutions able to access the SCR is expected to grow and to include mobile device platforms.

Work is also underway to explore the introduction of an SCR ‘spine mini service’ which allows integration of the SCR into local, bespoke systems and portals.

“In the future, we may not need to centrally provide an SCR because everything is being transferred seamlessly between primary and secondary care settings,” it says.

“Until that time, which is currently some way off, the SCR will provide NHS Trusts with a key building block towards an IDCR and we strongly recommend its uptake and adoption.”

The original target was for everyone who wanted a record to have one by the end of 2007.

However, health secretary Jeremy Hunt told a US health technology conference last month that the NHS was on track for 50m people to have SCRs by 2014.