The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) is using the build-up to next year's Welsh Assembly elections to push for the country's pharmacists to gain access to patient records.
Welsh pharmacists are currently unable to view individual care records, which limits their ability to make clinical decisions and “restricts the potential for meaningful dialogue” with patients and GPs, RPS Wales said in a vision document published yesterday (October 26).
It hopes the document will “help shape the party political manifestos for the 2016 Welsh election”.
Online access to patient records would allow pharmacists to support patients with chronic conditions, common ailments, minor injuries and “non-life threatening emergencies”, RPS Wales said. It could also pave the way for the development of new services, it said in the document, which also makes the case for a chronic conditions medication service.
The proposed chronic medication service would see pharmacists and GPs working together to produce a medication plan, RPS Wales explained. Pharmacists would offer "structured support, advice and review of their medicines" on an ongoing basis, which would be aided by access to patient records and prescribing powers, it added. The service could reduce hospital admissions and allow patients to live “as independently as possible in their own communities”, it stressed.
RPS Wales added that existing strategies such as the discharge medicines review service must "continue to be supported" to reduce medication-related errors and improve appropriate prescribing.
It also emphasised the need to "fully integrate" pharmacists into NHS multidisciplinary teams, which it said would "harness the expertise of pharmacists and utilise their clinical and prescribing skills". The organisation pointed to "around 130" Welsh pharmacists trained as independent prescribers, who are "ready and waiting to tackle the growing demands on primary care services".
Politicians should "commit" to the proposals
RPS Welsh Pharmacy Board chair Suzanne Scott-Thomas urged political parties to commit to the proposals, which would “improve patient safety, increase access to services and ensure all health professionals can work at the top of their game”.
RPS Wales said it is currently engaging with the Welsh political parties to “outline the benefits” of its proposals ahead of the assembly elections in May.
In June, the UK government committed £7.5 million to partially fund the rollout of summary care record access to every pharmacy in England.