EMERGENCY healthcare in Barnsley has been given a boost with new electronic care records for more than 124,000 patients.

The new electronically-stored summary care records will provide clinicians with vital information about a patient's allergies, medications and allergies to drugs via computers for the first time.

Pharmacists treating patients admitted to Barnsley Hospital now routinely use the emergency care summaries to improve the efficiency and safety of treatment.

Richard Sykes, deputy chief pharmacist at the hospital, said: "Having access to accurate, up-to-date information on the drug allergies and medicines taken by a patient is incredibly important, especially when they're admitted to hospital.

"The first step to prescribing safely and effectively is to understand what medicines a patient may be currently using.

"Clinical pharmacists and medicines management technicians can now, with the help of technology, obtain this information much quicker than relying on telephone calls and faxes to GP surgeries.

"Using summary care records alongside other available sources has the result that information needed to ensure correct medicines are prescribed is available much sooner."

Patients in Barnsley were sent information on summary care records and their rights in 2010.

Since then, local GPs have worked with IT specialists to make the records available for all those patients who have not opted out of the initiative.

To date, 124,914 people have the records and work is continuing to create them for the remainder of Barnsley's population so the information can be made available at the click of a mouse if they're treated away from their usual practice.