A hospital passport provides important information about a patient with a learning disability, including personal details, the type of medication they are taking, and any pre-existing health conditions.
The passport also includes information about how a person communicates and their likes and dislikes, which can be very important when they are first admitted to hospital.
This can include any communication aids and how they can be used so health staff can communicate clearly. They can also show how the person expresses things such as happiness, sadness, pain and discomfort.
Hospital passports allow health staff to understand the needs of the individual, and help them make the necessary reasonable adjustments to the care and treatment they provide.
Victoria's story of using her hospital passport
"In some cases it has saved her life. It has certainly aided making decisions, its caused us less stress, helped prepare and make the support workers feel confident, and it's very cost effective for the health professionals."
Watch our video about Victoria and how her hospital passport has transformed her care.
Summary care records
A summary care record is like a smaller version of your main health records.
A summary care record holds the key information that healthcare professionals needs to know about you.
- your GP
- your NHS number
- any health conditions you may have
- your medications
- any medication allergies of bad reactions you've had in the past.
It is used to share important information about you between the healthcare professionals involved in your care, so they can give you the best care possible.
It is electronic (so it will be looked at on a computer, tablet or mobile device) and can be seen in most NHS care settings. It is designed particularly to be used in emergencies, or in places where you do not already have health records. For example, the doctors in your local out of hours GP services could use it if you were unwell at the weekend, or if you were taken ill at a hospital in a different part of the country, or if you needed treatment whilst on holiday.
Frequently asked questions about summary care records
Take a look at the answers to some frequently asked questions about summary care records and additional information.
Click on the questions to reveal each answer below.
Do I have a summary care record?
Probably! You have the right to opt out of a summary care record by telling your GP that you do not want it.
If you have not opted out then you should already have a summary care record.
How can I use my summary care record to let healthcare professionals know about my support needs?
Your GP can help you to add extra details, called additional information, to your summary care record. Not everyone has additional information, your GP has to have permission first.
Additional information can include things like information about any needs for reasonable adjustments, or support needs you have to enable you to access health care. For example you could include notes about using a wheelchair or needing information in easy read.
If you give permissions for additional information, some information will be drawn from your record automatically depending on what your GP knows about you already, but other information will be needed to added later by your GP with your guidance.
For more information about additional information take a look at this easy read guide from NHS England. You can also find out more about this, and your rights to reasonable adjustments on our Accessible Information Standard page.
This consent form from NHS England can be used to give your permission to your GP to create additional information on your summary care record.
Will every healthcare professional treating me read the additional information on my summary care record?
In a very busy hospital setting, or when they have their own details recorded about you that are already available, it may be unlikely that a healthcare professional will read your additional information.
However, the important thing to know is that it's there and that you can alert a healthcare professional to the information when you know it is important. (Remember, healthcare professionals may only view your summary care record with your permission).
Will my summary care record be kept up to date?
Your GP should keep your summary care record up to date. However, we recommend that you check in with them at your annual health check to make sure the information is correct.
It's also a good idea to ask your GP to make sure that any new medication prescribed by someone other than your GP is included.
NHS Digital is also currently working on a reasonable adjustments flag, that can go on people's records and draw healthcare professionals' attention to the need to make adjustments or give extra support more easily.
This will let them know that people need reasonable adjustments or extra support and is also able to store what those needs actually are, without giving information about their health conditions or other more personal information which may be contained within the additional information in the summary care record.
The flag could also be used to direct healthcare professionals to the additional information in someone's summary care record.
Reasonable adjustment flags are still in development, although some trusts and GP surgeries may have their own systems for alerting staff to people's needs. Ask you local hospital trust or your GP for information on any systems in your area.
For more information on sharing information about your support needs, see the sharing information easy read guide from NHS England.
NHS: Help Us Help You
Some people with a learning disability are more likely to become seriously ill or die if they get the flu.
The best way to avoid getting flu is to have a flu vaccine. Which is a free injection.
The NHS have made some helpful easy read resources about how to protect yourself from flu this winter, and also how to get the flu vaccine.
Printed copies of these materials, as well as copies for people whose first language is not English can be ordered from the Gov.uk website here.
Camilla gets a flu jab
Take a look at NHS England's video which shows Camilla, who has a learning disability, getting her flu jab.
How to get the support you need
Contact the Learning Disability Helpline, our advice and support line, for guidance and information about what support we can offer you.
Or why not take a look at our online community? This is a place for parents and family carers of people with a learning disability to share experiences, advice and support.