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Health records

Health records

Health records contain information about your health and any care or treatment you've received.

Your health records may contain:

  • test and scan results
  • X-rays
  • doctors notes
  • letters to and from NHS staff

It’s important that your records are kept up to date. You should tell NHS staff when your personal information changes or if you are going to be out of the UK for a long time.

How health records are stored

Different parts of the NHS hold records. For example, your GP practice and any hospital you have been to may hold records about you.

The NHS has guidelines about how long it should keep health records, after which they can be destroyed.

You should contact your GP practice manager or hospital health records manager if you would like more information about how your records are stored.

Emergency care summary

Most patients in Scotland now have an Emergency Care Summary containing basic information about your health in case of an emergency.

NHS staff can also use your Emergency Care Summary if your GP refers you to an outpatient clinic or for admission to hospital to check your details.

Before any member of staff looks at your Emergency Care Summary, they must get your consent. If you are too unwell to give consent, they may need to read your Emergency Care Summary without your agreement in order to give you the best possible care.

Please note that our Emergency Care Summary content is currently under review.

Specialist health records

Patients with particular needs or living with long-term conditions may also have a Key Information Summary containing information that NHS staff should know.

The Key Information Summary might contain:

  • an emergency contact
  • information about a patients condition
  • what treatment the patient is having

If you need a Key Information Summary, your GP will discuss with you what information should be included.