Dr Simon Abrams, a GP in Everton and chair of primary care federation Urgent Health, told C+D he would like to be involved in a “discussion" on records access "with pharmacists present".
Speaking at a King's Fund conference on winter urgent care provision, Dr Abrams said this would help him to “understand how pharmacists would benefit from having access to records, where their skill sets lie and what sort of information would be useful for them”.
While it is important to ensure patients agree for their records to be accessed, the health service sometimes "overdoes confidentiality", Dr Abrams said at the event on Tuesday (September 27).
The summary care record (SCR) only shares “a small amount” of patient information with pharmacists, which “clearly needs expanding”, Dr Abrams stressed.
“If we are expecting pharmacists to take on a greater role, why not share that [patient] information with them?” he asked
"Does [community pharmacy] need the whole record? Maybe it does," he added.
Speaking at the same event, NHS England's medical director Sir Bruce Keogh mentioned the need for improved access to patient records across the health service, along with “24/7 diagnostic access” and an “adequate workforce”.
Their comments came a day after NHS England's Jill Loader said pharmacists are "so nervous" about accessing the SCR that they are only using it "once a month".
It is “very difficult” for NHS England to make the case for a shared record for community pharmacy when it is not being used, she added.
Pharmacists can already access an "enhanced" record for any patients who have signed up for this version of their SCR. However, it is up to each clinical commissioning group to decide whether they wish to use this as a "solution in their area", NHS Digital told C+D last month.