Chemist + Druggist is part of Pharma Intelligence UK Limited

This is operated by Pharma Intelligence UK Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with company number 13787459 whose registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. The Pharma Intelligence group is owned by Caerus Topco S.à r.l. and all copyright resides with the group.

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use. Please do not redistribute without permission.

Printed By


Pharmacy’s read-write scheme hailed as alternative to GP pharmacists

A pharmacy’s read-write access to a nearby GP surgery’s records has been hailed as a community pharmacy alternative to NHS England’s push for more GP pharmacists.

A National Pharmacy Association (NPA) report published last week (July 3) cited the “enormous potential” of a partnership between a GP practice and pharmacy in Sheffield (see below) allowing community pharmacists to read and annotate the practice’s patient records.

With funding from a government grant, more than 1,000 interventions were carried out at the community pharmacy using this record access in the nine months between October 2015 and June 2016, the NPA said in the report, with “every four minutes of pharmacist time saving approximately two minutes of GP time”.

“If every pharmacy were to provide just one day of clinical support to general practices each week, it would release in excess of 18 million GP appoints a year,” it argued.

Referring to NHS England’s ongoing drive to recruit pharmacists into GP practices, the NPA said this policy is “not the solution to the GP capacity crisis alone”. Instead, the model in its report “demonstrates that the community pharmacy team can provide care at scale, offering a cost-effective alternative or supplement” to NHS England’s current strategy.

How does the model work?

Garry Myers, owner of Basegreen Pharmacy and GP practice partner at Jaunty Springs Medical Centre in Sheffield, explained to C+D that the pharmacy and practice formed a legal partnership eight years ago. The pharmacy was first granted access to the practice’s clinical system the following year, after purchasing a GP practice laptop.

While his pharmacy has a “legal right to that information”, Mr Myers stressed that other community pharmacies “don’t need the legal structural integration that we’ve got in order to deliver this model”.

A four-hour session each week is allocated for the pharmacy to support the surgery, using read-write records access to: help with acute queries; sort repeat prescriptions; flag up errors; book appointments with a nurse or GP; and check through new medication.

“Once you have read-write access, you effectively become an extension of the practice – it’s as painfully simple as that,” Mr Myers said.

“The GPs can send messages to us and we can send messages to them, which pop up on our screen,” he explained. “We don’t even need to use a phone sometimes.”

Flack from NHS England

Mr Myers said he is expecting his pharmacy’s solution to draw criticism from NHS England, which may be concerned it “undermines their preferred model” of recruiting pharmacists into GP practices.

“We’re trying to present an alternative approach, because the NHS England [model] wouldn’t work for my practice,” he said. “[It] would be too costly and it wouldn’t give us the coverage that we’ve currently got.”

Pharmacies from London, the north-east and elsewhere in Yorkshire have all expressed interest in trialling the model, Mr Myers added.

Commenting on its report, NPA chair Nitin Sodha said: “It is time for NHS England to review this alternative model in more detail and ensure funding is allocated from the pharmacy integration programme to support the fuller deployment of the community pharmacy network.”

“The patients love the model”

Independent prescriber Crispin Bliss gives C+D insight into how Basegreen Pharmacy's read-write access works in practice:

We find that we have slightly quieter times of the day, so that is when we do the [patient] queries. We tend to do the general medication reviews and the COPD reviews on a Thursday afternoon, because the surgery is closed then, otherwise it’s on an ad-hoc basis.

Being an independent prescriber has its benefits, but an awful lot of the straightforward work could be done without being a prescriber. It just means that if you did have a patient coming in ad-hoc, then you could prescribe straight away. The patient may not get their medication immediately, but typically the doctor would be happy to prescribe and we’d be able to sort out a prescription in 15 minutes or so.

The patients love the model, because we can solve a lot of problems. We can flag up where an error has been made by the surgery, but also help to make sure the right information is on the record. So it saves money for the NHS and it just means the patient has a happier time using the NHS.

It is especially useful at present with all of the out-of-stock medicines. We can recommend that we’re going to change patients to an [alternative] item, for example, and push that past the GPs just to check it’s OK with them.”

A lot of people are interested in the model, but it’s taking that step into the unknown and [having] a clinical commissioning group that’s open-minded enough. I think if you get a senior GP that’s going to push it from their end, then it’s more likely to find purchase.

What do you make of this read-write model?

Related Content


Pharmacist Manager
£30 per hour

Apply Now
Latest News & Analysis
See All



Ask The Analyst

Please Note: You can also Click below Link for Ask the Analyst
Ask The Analyst

Thank you for submitting your question. We will respond to you within 2 business days. my@email.address.

All fields are required.

Please make sure all fields are completed.

Please make sure you have filled out all fields

Please make sure you have filled out all fields

Please enter a valid e-mail address

Please enter a valid Phone Number

Ask your question to our analysts