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'Clunky' processes blamed for low patient record uptake

Only 27% of English pharmacies have gone live with records access

Pharmacists say a “clunky” accreditation process has contributed to the slow uptake of the summary care record (SCR) across England.

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”.

"Increased liability"

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”.

NHS Digital told C+D it did not want to comment on these latest pharmacy responses, and pointed to feedback from pharmacists who are looking forward to using an expanded version of the record.

Twitter reaction
Have you attended the face-to-face SCR training?

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

The IG issue is very real - I was told various things from - you must have express permission from the patient - which more or less limits the time you get to do it to while they are with you , or on the other end - use it whenever you would normally ring a surgery to query something - as long as you are doing it for patient benefit its ok. - I tend to go with the latter but can see how the more cautious among us would stick to the former and find it just too complicated and time consuming for the perceived gain.

actually accessing it is far too slow and complicated - like eps tracker. obviously no thought to us in the website design but whats new...

Matthew Edwards, Community pharmacist

Oh dear, a new thing that pharmacists can use and have completely disregarded.  I am afraid this is typical of the apathy of the pharmacy workforce in general.  I have accessed SCR several times since becoming accredited and found it to be helpful.  Yes its slightly long-winded in its current format, hopefully when PMR suppliers can directly put functionality in their software this will be overcome.  But there are no reasons at all for not using SCR even if its on one of the test patients.  SCR doesn't add time to the dispensing as suggested above because thats not when its supposed to be used and the training plus CPPE pack was sufficient to provide knowledge.  Instead of complaining about something because we can't be bothered to try using it and throwing up imaginary barriers maybe we should all get on, have a go with SCR and then pass CONSTRUCTIVE criticism back to NHS Digital instead of moaning

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

why isnt it suposed to be used while dispensing? - isnt that the best time to sort out a problem?

JOHN MUNDAY, Locum pharmacist

The whole process is very clunky. I think though I might be wrong, that many pharmacists are scared to use it just in case they fall foul of some IG regulation and get done for it. For example, they say in the face to face course that you are NOT allowed to access YOUR OWN scr! What on earth is that all about?

Ivor Hadenuff, Primary care pharmacist

Its generally the case that staff don't access their own records right across the NHS in GP surgeries, hospitals, wherever, so this is simple consistency. It's entirely possible, if unlikely, that there may be something in your record that you are not yet aware of and that should be explained to you face to face.

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