2nd August 2020

Following the early release of the NHS Steroid Emergency Card in March to keep patients with Addison's or adrenal insufficiency safe during the COVID-19 crisis, the NHS steroid card has been updated and physical copies will be available for order from Tuesday 18th August for hospital teams and from Tuesday 1st September for GP and community pharmacy teams.

The card is still available as a download, allowing you to immediately print a copy for your wallet or purse, as well as saving a copy of the card to your mobile phone. The card can be downloaded from the Society for Endocrinology adrenal crisis webpage.

What is the NHS Steroid Emergency Card?

The card has been developed by the Society for Endocrinology (SfE), Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I), to be carried by patients at risk of adrenal crisis.

As well as including sections for you to complete, the weblink and QR code printed on the card takes you and health teams straight to the Society for Endocrinology Adrenal Crisis page which has all the relevant guidance on how to manage an adrenal crisis, and patient information links. New medical guidance has been released alongside the card, providing vital information on the prevention and emergency management of adrenal insufficiency, which you can read here; as well as a National Patient Safety Alert. 

The development of the NHS Steroid Emergency Card is a fantastic and reassuring resource for those of us living with Addison's. It's development and update in liaison with ambulance services shows the increased awareness around the correct and fast treatment for adrenal crisis, one of the main aims of our charity work - our great thanks to the commitment of the team involved!

ADSHG Charity Medical Trustee Dr Helen Simpson, who has led the development of the card, tells us:

“Thank you all so much for your comments and support and for feedback after the soft pdf launch during the peak of the Corona Virus Pandemic. This is a new card and various organisations across the NHS are working together to enable implementation. It may take a little time for everything to work smoothly, so whilst we know many of you are keen to have a new card, we are all grateful for your ongoing patience whilst everything embeds.

We hope that the Steroid Emergency Card, Guidance and National Patient Safety Alert (NSPA) helps patient safety and we look forward to receiving your feedback.”

Below we’ve answered some of your questions about the card.

When will a card be available for children and adolescents?

This card and its associated guidance is intended for use by adults (16+). A specific card for children and adolescents by the British Society for Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes is underway but has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you need further information please email the British Society for Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes (BSPED) who are discussing this separate guidance. We will keep members updated on further developments as we hear them.

How do I order a physical copy of the card?

The new cards will be available to order from Tuesday 18th August 2020 for hospital teams and from Wednesday 26th August 2020 for GP and community pharmacy teams, so there may be a short wait until cards are available for you. Due to the current ways of working during COVID 19, many GP and hospital appointments are phone clinics so community pharmacy teams will initially be issuing most of these cards.

When asking for an NHS Steroid Emergency Card to be ordered on your behalf, we recommend including the link to the Society for Endocrinology page as this provides your Health Care Professional with the direct links to order.

There are 3 ways of obtaining a NHS Steroid Emergency Card:

  1. Through community pharmacies. Please let them know you have had the relevant patient education and are aware of sick day rules. You may wish to show a clinical letter or similar but that is not essential. If you lose your card the community pharmacy team can also provide a replacement.
  2. Your GP when having your next routine review if they are the lead professional managing your steroid replacement care plan.
  3. Hospital teams at your next Endocrine appointment.

Due to the current health pandemic, please be aware there is likely to be a delay in receiving the card due to health services being busy. So if you can print your own copy of the card to carry on your person whilst you wait to receive the card, this is a great option.

I don’t have a printer! How else can I display the card?

As well as people asking friends or family to print the copies of the cards, we’ve had great feedback from members saving the card on their phones. As most of us always have our phones nearby, this gives an immediate option ahead of receiving a physical copy of the card. The image can also be included in your mobile phone medical ID, if your mobile phone has that option.

We at the ADSHG have found this to work great as our wallpaper background! Check out our snapshots below. Here we have screenshotted the card on our smartphone from the Society of Endocrinology website and saved as an image on our phone.

                           

It’s important to note carrying the NHS Steroid Emergency Card is recommended in addition to your medic alert bracelet or necklace.

If you have any photos or ideas you’d like to share with us, we’d love to hear from you! Please get in touch on our Contact Us webpage.

Can I still purchase the ADSHG Adrenal Crisis Emergency Wallet Card?

Yes, the NHS card is a welcome addition to the charity Adrenal Crisis Emergency wallet card, available from our online shop and in our charity members welcome pack. The charity card is intended for the information of paramedics, GPs, Accident & Emergency staff and other front-line medical personnel, on the treatment required to prevent an adrenal crisis in the event of serious injury or illness. Our silicone steroid-alert bracelets are also available in our online shop. 

When will the ordering of the Steroid Card be available in the devolved nations i.e. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

The good news is that the NHS Safety Alert is across England and devolved nations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). The team behind the steroid card are in discussions with the devolved nations to confirm how they wish to proceed with making physical copies of the card available to their patients. We're awaiting confirmation at the moment but are hopeful. We are working hard to make sure our members in devolved nations are supported and will provide updates as soon as we know more.