Only 27% (3,083) of pharmacies in England have accessed the SCR so far, despite 79% of the country’s pharmacies having completed face-to-face training sessions on using the record, NHS Digital confirmed to C+D last week (August 4).
Both the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) and NHS Digital – formerly the Health and Social Care Information Centre – urged pharmacies to access the record.
Pharmacists pointed to the difficulties with signing up to the record initially as one of the barriers to uptake.
Dorset contractor and National Pharmacy Association board member Mike Hewitson said the “accreditation process is too clunky”, while Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire chief executive Robbie Turner warned that there had been “too little consideration of implementation support… again”.
Superintendent Max Falconer said he is not willing to accept the risk of “increased liability” for accessing the record “until dispensing errors are decriminalised at the very least”.
But leading healthcare lawyer David Reissner, who wrote for C+D about the legal implications of records access in March, said the slow uptake was more likely due to a wariness of “more work for less pay”.
“SCR is a valuable tool, but adds time to dispensing,” Mr Reissner told C+D.
Pharmacist consultant Mike Holden agreed it was unlikely that liability is the main issue, and suggested it was “more about why and when we should [access the record] and the speed of access”.
@chemistdruggist Nope the accreditation process is too clunky.— Mike Hewitson (@MikeHewitson1) August 8, 2016
@ChemistDruggist I doubt this is about liability, more about why & when we should & speed of access— Mike Holden (@Michaelwsh) August 8, 2016
@ChemistDruggist Agreed Robbie, there has always been a focus on process and system (how and what) not enough on why and when— Mike Holden (@Michaelwsh) August 8, 2016
@ChemistDruggist fear of the unknown and not being able to see the benefits— Babir (@Babir1981) August 8, 2016
@ChemistDruggist Slow for us as taking so long for RA to add PO roles to staff smartcards. I'd be using SCR already if we could.— Wyvern Pharmacy (@wyvernpharmacy) August 8, 2016