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Patient registration given thumbs up in PJ Online poll

By News team

Patient registration with an individual pharmacist would improve patient care, believe most voters in a PJ Online poll.

In the recent Wilson-Barber review, it suggested that patient registration was essential to underpin continuity of care in community pharmacies in Scotland. Of the 108 people who voted in the poll, 66 per cent believed that it would do just that, 20 per cent believed it would restrict access and choice, 6 per cent believed it would empower pharmacists and 8 per cent said it would place more pressure on pharmacists. There was a mixed reaction from voters commenting on the proposal.

One voter, David Kent, a retired local pharmaceutical committee chief executive, said that the proposal was dangerous for independent pharmacies. "The multiples will jump on this like Christmas has come around early and actively seek to register in surgeries and elsewhere." He added that patient choice is also reduced as those registering are unlikely to make it plain to patients that they still have the right to take their prescription elsewhere.

However, Niall Kelly, a superintendent pharmacist, felt that doctor-owned pharmacies were more of a risk to independent pharmacies than patient registration, because doctors may direct their prescriptions to the pharmacies they own.

Shaun Hockey, managing director of Healthcare Personnel recruitment, said that he thought the perspective taken would be dependent on whether you own a pharmacy or not. "I can fully understand the concerns of pharmacy owners that this might cause some problems but I feel that the relationship good independents have will see them flourish. For pharmacy as a healthcare profession, registration is a great idea and if we have access to healthcare records then it is a massive opportunity for the profession to make a real difference for patients. It might well be that a model develops akin to the medical model, where patients register with a local practice, but out of hours or weekends [they] have access to ‘walk-in pharmacies’ that can supply patients and feedback medications supplied to the registered pharmacy."

Adam Rathbone, clinical pharmacist at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, called patient registration a "brilliant move". He said that the contractual arrangements to support this have already happened in Scotland and asked if the Royal Pharmaceutical Society could examine the impact it has had on independent business. "For me, the Wilson report should be used as a small rock that starts an avalanche [that] radically, and completely, changes the way pharmacists are paid for services; moving the emphasis away from dispensing and supply to management and optimisation. This model will undoubtedly improve patient care," he said.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2013.11125565

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