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Pharmacists to amend patient records within 5 years

If a pilot to give pharmacies in five regions read-only access to the summary care record (SCR) in the autumn is a success then it will be rolled out to all pharmacies within two years, says the project lead


All pharmacists will be able to amend patient records within five years, the head of a project to give the sector read-only access has predicted.

If the project – which will give between 80 and 100 pharmacies in five regions read-only access to the summary care record (SCR) in the autumn – is a success then it will be rolled out to all pharmacies within two years, said Emyr Jones, clinical lead on the pilot project for the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

As part of the rollout, HSCIC would discuss with the NHS if pharmacists should be able to amend the records, Dr Jones told C+D at a parliamentary event on shared records access on Wednesday (September 3).

Reporter Samuel Horti talks to Beth Kennedy about what happened at the parliamentary event on Wednesday

"I would be very bold [and] suggest that, unless other events overtake us, the SCR will become a different beast within the next five years. It will become more than a summary, it will have input from other settings," he said.  

Pharmacists would "absolutely" be able to input information into the records, which would also contain a wider range of diagnostic data, Dr Jones told C+D.

Although there were suspicions among parts of the health service that pharmacists wanted records access so they could "play at doctors", Dr Jones said access was necessary to allow the sector to make "informed clinical decisions".

NHS England and HSCIC – who direct the pilot programme together – were already discussing ways to introduce SCR access into every pharmacy "on the assumption" that the pilot was successful, Dr Jones said.

Technical problems

There were "all sorts of technical issues" about how to make the IT systems in GP surgeries compatible with pharmacies, but these could be overcome, he added.

Mohammed Hussain, NHS England systems commissioning manager, said the pilot's success would be judged on a number of "qualitative and quantitative" measures. This would include feedback from patient groups and the number of times pharmacists accessed the SCR, he told C+D.

In July, health minister Daniel Poulter said the pilot would determine whether patient record access improved "quality, safety, and continuity of care" in pharmacies and would shape the "optimum model" for pharmacy SCR access. The results of the pilot are due be published in early 2015.

Can you wait five years to amend patient records?

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Pharmacy HLP, Manager

I should soon be getting access to GP RECORD VIEWER . watch this space if your practice is on emis its coming, needs lots of paperwork.

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

Good move for future clinical roles in community pharmacy.

[email protected], Pre-reg graduate

Hi Simon,

You promised to get answers for the questions I raised. Any luck? The video doesn't even speak about these issues. Did you even raise the issues you promised you would? All I see is more ambitions thrown at us than answering the fundamental questions. Why would "All pharmacists will be able to amend patient records within five years"" without any prescribing rights? or does it indicate that all Pharmacists will automatically get prescribing rights (after 5 years) or they will have to be Independent prescriber to get any AMEDING rights?? Still so much confusion.

I hope we take a well gauged step so that we don't regret and become headlines for one more topic (like the EPS2) in leading newspapers/ magazines.

Samuel Horti, Other healthcare professional

Thanks for the comment. This news is something that has only just come out, and as yet details of how it will work are sparse. But there was no mention of this being linked to prescribing - this will be in every pharmacy as part of the summary care record if it goes ahead. Pharmacists present gave some examples of when being able to amend the records would help, for instance when they discover has not been taking their medication and they wish to add that to the record so it is noted by the GP and for future reference.

This will only happen if the read-only pilot, which is due to start soon, is a success. If it is, I'm sure there will be another evaluation process to see whether or not having write access will also prove valuable. Pharmacists that I have talked to seemed keen about having full read-write access, especially for monitoring and recording changes in long term conditions.

Again, this is the first anyone has heard of the news, and as time goes on I will continue to follow up to get more details.


Samuel Horti
Reporter, C+D

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