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Review of pharmacist access to electronic care records under way

The case for community pharmacist access to electronic care records has been made and the Department of Health is now in the process of reviewing the issue to decide how much of the record should be seen by pharmacists, according to Michael Thick, chief clinical officer at NHS Connecting for Health.

In an interview with The Journal, Professor Thick confirmed that these conversations have started but he could not give an estimate of when any decisions would be made. He explained that a representative group of various parties with a legitimate interest has been convened, including patients, nurses and pharmacists.

It is not in NHS CfH’s gift to give access to certain groups, he added. “There has to be a clear understanding from those who collect the data and those who own it, and by that I mean patients, that they are convinced that this is a good idea.”

A DoH spokesman confirmed that meetings have begun: “In order to be able to carry out their wider roles safely and effectively, we are committed to community pharmacists having appropriate access to healthcare records. In addition, pharmacists will eventually need to be able to record their interventions in these records. However, confidentiality and security will need to be assured. All of this could be facilitated by the NHS care record service being developed by Connecting for Health.”

He added: “We met with key stakeholders, who in general shared our views, but there are concerns in the main about practical requirements to ensure patient consent and confidentiality will be maintained and guaranteed in a community pharmacy setting.”

Professor Thick does not believe that convincing the public to let healthcare professionals other than GPs view medical records will be difficult. But he warned that the conversation would need to be handled carefully and acknowledged that the public’s attitude towards the holding and use of data has hardened recently following various unauthorised disclosures.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 10016416

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