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Pharmacies to benefit from 'fewer clicks' SCR update by summer

NHS Digital is also working to allow information sharing with GP practices
NHS Digital is also working to allow information sharing with GP practices

An upcoming update to the summary care record (SCR) is designed to save time for pharmacists by requiring “fewer clicks” to access patient information, C+D has learned.

By summer, the “SCR 1-Click” update will provide pharmacies in England with access to the SCR “via the existing pharmacy system, avoiding the need to separately login” to the web viewer, NHS Digital told C+D.

NHS Digital is developing the “SCRa application” with PharmOutcomes and healthcare software company Sonar Informatics, it said, “with more [suppliers] planned to follow, so that this capability can be provided to as many pharmacies as possible across England”.

The SCRa is an online portal where pharmacists can access the SCR from a machine logged in to the secure NHS network.

“By making access to SCR easier and more integrated, it will save time and improve user experience,” NHS Digital said.

According to the latest data from the NHS Business Services Authority, over 95% of pharmacies across England currently have access to the SCR.

Some pharmacies access the record more than 200 times a week, NHS Digital said.

Sharing GP information

In addition to the update, NHS Digital is also “working on developing messaging capability and data standards that will allow the sharing of information between pharmacy and GP practice systems”, it told C+D.

Its programme head for integrated pharmacy, Mohammed Hussain, said in May last year that SCR version 2.0 “will be much better”, enabling pharmacists to do “much more”.

Last month, C+D reported on a London pharmacy that has been granted read-write access to patient records.

How often do you access the SCR in your pharmacy?

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

As wonderful as this is, I'd happily have to make 100 clicks to have read/write access to a full medical record...

I'd be interested to hear what additonal information you'd like to see that isn't contained on a SCR.

I don't mean to sound too critical when I ask this, it's just that I have heard pharmacists wanting this access for years and there are not many scenarios I have come across that would convince the NHS officials that full access is needed.

Granted there are some genuine situations e.g. accessing discharge summaries from hospitals or if you are an independant prescriber, where it would be useful to have the additonal information. But I can't think of many more instances where full access is needed for everyday pharmacy activities (remembering that MURs are not "clincal" and only an assessment of "use" in their current form).

Unless community pharmacy's role in the NHS is drastically changed, then access to SCR should be enough.

I'm open to be proved wrong on this though!

Reeyah H, Community pharmacist


Aren’t discharge summeries enough to warrant access? It’s extremely frustrating to wait for a discharge note that hasn’t reached the GP yet, but the MDS needs to be done up ASAP. 


I agree, this is an example when full access could be useful.

But would you dispense/make changes to an MDS tray against a hospital discharge summary? The GP would still need to authorise the changes so you'd have to contact them to chase up the updating of the patient's regular meds. whether you could see the discharge summary yourself or not. And you wouldn't know to look for a discharge summary unless you were told the patient had been in hospital.

Ideally community pharmacies would be contacted when a patient is being discharged with tray medication, which does happen sometimes to be fair, but more often it doesn't where I work. 

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