Pharmacists to get access to GP records, says health secretary
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has revealed that changes will be made to allow pharmacists to access patients’ GP records.
During a Parliamentary discussion on changes to health services in London yesterday (30 October 2013), Mr Hunt said: “One of the changes that we are introducing, which I think could make a very big difference is, where there are proper protections in place for patients, allowing pharmacists to access GP records so that they can make sure that they give people the correct medicines and know about their allergies,” he said.
He was responding to a question from Oliver Colville, Conservative MP for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport and vice-chairman of the All-Party Pharmacy Group, who said pressures on accident and emergency units were not exclusive to the capital. He asked if Mr Hunt would meet with him and some representatives from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English Pharmacy Board, as well as pharmacists in his constituency, to discuss how they could relieve pressure on A&E units. Mr Hunt said that he would be more than happy to meet with him and added that he felt that there is a lot that pharmacy can do.
Chairman of the English Pharmacy Board Dave Branford said that the board was delighted to hear that the health secretary will be making changes to enable pharmacists to have access to the patient record. “This is something that the EPB has been lobbying on for some time, including at the recent party conferences that English board members attended. We believe that access to information is key to reducing medicine errors, improving medicines adherence and delivering safe and more effective care to patients.”
Alastair Buxton, head of NHS services at the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, said the PSNC is pleased to see the health secretary make such a public commitment and looks forward to seeing the plans progress.
“Community pharmacy has a great deal to offer patients through medicines management, public health and other clinical services, but the advantages of these will only be fully realised if pharmacies are fully integrated into the healthcare system and can share information about the services they are delivering securely with the other healthcare professionals involved in patient care.”
Rob Darracott, chief executive of Pharmacy Voice, added: “I welcome the Secretary of State’s commitment to enabling pharmacist access to patient care records, as a means of facilitating improved care. Not only is this direction of travel entirely consistent with calls from pharmacy organisations for a number of years, but it is also in line with his earlier statements about a paperless NHS and calls for greater openness and transparency. The last 10 years have shown us that the road to effectiveness in IT can be a difficult one, but at least the end goal is shifting in the right direction.”
Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2013.11129565
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