NHS Summary Care Records

One of the many things that came through my front door recently was this leaflet from the NHS about Summary Care Records – all 12 pages of it (you can download the whole pdf here).

Having, as requested, ‘taken time to read this leaflet’ I realised most of it was unnecessary

Here’s the condensed version:

Here’s the full text for anyone who wants it:

We are creating new Summary Care Records. These records will hold important information about your medical conditions and medical history.

How are these different to my normal medical records?

Unlike the records at your GP’s surgery, your Summary Care Record will be available by any part of the NHS that has to treat you.

Normally we will ask permission to look at your record, but if it is an emergency we will refer to this record so we can help you as quickly as possible.

If you are happy for us to create a Summary Care for you, you don’t need to do anything. Your record will be created shortly.

If you change your mind in future, we can hide your record.

If you don’t want us to create your Summary Care Record, you will need to complete a Summary Care Records opt-out form. You can get this from your GP, or download it from www.nhscarerecords.nhs.uk/options

If you change your mind in the future, we can create a record for you.


We will treat all the information in your Summary Care Record with the same confidentiality as other information we hold about you.

If you want to know more, visit www.nhscarerecords.nhs.uk

7 thoughts on “NHS Summary Care Records”

  1. I hope they call you next time. Never has so much information been provided, at such length, to an audience that cared so little.

    If you need to put ‘please take time to read this leaflet’, you’ve failed. Imagine if we started putting disclaimers on commercial work. ‘Please take time to work out my obscure headline pun.’ ‘Please take time to squint at my overly small web text.’

    Communication is the responsibility of the speaker, not the listener. NHS ‘customers’ don’t owe leaflet-writers any favours.

  2. Great stuff, Robert. It’s so important these things make sense and don’t put readers off by dumping swathes of copy on them. (My Mum is one of the NHS’s most frequent visitors, so I know whereof I speak!)

    One thing, along the same lines as Ali’s note: could the second bold line not take the same active voice as the first? So it might say, “If you don’t want us to create…”

    A small thing, but I think comparing the two is quite a good case study in the added energy and directness the active voice often adds.

    Feels churlish to nit-pick though – if I ever have to consult such a form, I hope you’ll have been over it first!

  3. Thanks, Mike.

    I can’t possibly argue with that change!

    Your point about putting people off with quantity of information is spot on. A big part of convincing someone about the simplicity of information is done before they even interact with it, just by making it look manageable, whether that’s in quantity or style.

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