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Hunt signals support for priority access to summary care record for community pharmacy

Jeremy Hunt, health secretary, has agreed to consider prioritising community pharmacy for access to the summary care record in 2015, along with ambulances, the NHS 111 service and accident and emergency departments, according to Sibby Buckle, member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English Pharmacy Board. However, he would like to see a measurable fall in emergency admissions as a result, she added. Mr Hunt’s comments were made in a meeting held in Westminster earlier this week (14 January 2014) to discuss pharmacists’ role in the NHS.

Mr Hunt said he would eventually like pharmacists to be able to access a more robust patient record with read-and-write access — but this is subject to a few conditions: the patient must give their permission, have a patient-specific ID and there must be a privacy officer, relayed Mrs Buckle, who attended the meeting. Mrs Buckle added that Devon and Cornwall was suggested as a pilot area for an SCR roll-out to community pharmacy.

Mark Stone, project lead at Devon Local Pharmaceutical Committee, who also attended the meeting, told PJ Online that he believes this is the first time the health secretary has met with a group of pharmacists in this way. The meeting followed a request made in Parliament by Oliver Colvile, MP and vice-chairman of the All-Party Pharmacy Group. He asked Mr Hunt to meet with pharmacists from his constituency and from the EPB to discuss how they can help ease winter pressures on the NHS, to which he agreed.

“Mr Hunt challenged the profession to liaise with GPs so that there was less competition and more co-operation between the professions,” added Mrs Buckle.

“I believe the door is now open for pharmacy to be brought into mainstream healthcare. The profession must now step up to the challenge and I think that we can and are ready to do this,”she said, adding that it was important for pharmacy now to consider how access to records will be used clinically. “I am concerned about the lack of pharmacy representation in the new NHS governance structure. I suggested to Mr Hunt that the board of each clinical commissioning group should have a pharmacist.”

During the meeting the health secretary recommended that Mr Colvile act as a pharmacy champion to facilitate liaison between the pharmacy profession and policy makers, added Mr Stone. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.11132934

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  • Pharmacy meeting in Parliament with Jeremy Hunt

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