Patient Information on the NHS Steroid Card




Why have I been given this card?

This is a new NHS card. You have been given it because you are currently taking steroids long-term, or at a high dose. Steroids can decrease the ability of your body to deal with stress, trauma, and surgery.

By ‘long-term’ we mean that you are have either been taking steroids every day for at least the last four weeks, or you may be taking regular, shorter courses of steroids. 

Steroids can come as tablets, liquids, inhalers, nasal sprays, creams, injections, or rectal applications, and you may be taking steroids in more than one of these ways.


Why is it called an ‘emergency’ card?

It is important that any healthcare professional who may treat you in the future knows you are on long-term steroids and this card will help them give you the right treatment if you ever get sick and have to go into hospital for emergency treatment, or need an operation. It has been introduced because we now know much more about the best way to treat people in the hospital setting who are taking long-term steroids.


I have finished my steroid course, but I have still been given this card - do I need it?

It can take about a year after taking long term or high dose steroids before the ability of your body to deal with stress and illness returns to normal. During this time, you will still need to carry this card.


What do I need to do?

You must fill in the card with your own details. Keep it safe in your purse or wallet. Have it ready to show to any healthcare professional you see. If you ever need to call 999 or 111 then you should follow the advice on the back of the card.

Please let your family know that you carry an NHS Steroid Emergency Card. This is very important if you need emergency treatment, as they can tell the emergency services for you.

The weblink and QR code printed on the card will take any health teams involved in your care straight to further clinical information.


I already have a ‘blue’ steroid treatment card – do I need to keep that, too?

Yes, you will need to keep both for now as they have separate purposes. The blue card tells you to not stop taking your steroids suddenly, whilst the new card will help to ensure you receive the correct treatment if you ever get sick. In the future the two cards may be combined into one. 

If you have a ‘medic alert’ bracelet or necklace you should also make sure you wear it and keep any other emergency cards you may have.


Where can I get another card from if I lose this one? 

New or replacement NHS Steroid Emergency Cards can be obtained from your GP practice, community pharmacy or hospital or can be downloaded here. You can have more than one card if you would like to store them in different places. However, please make sure the details on both cards are the same.


Where can I get more information?

Call your surgery on: 01432 272 175 and ask to speak to a member of the pharmacy team.