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Why we need write access to patient summary care records

A patient came into our pharmacy requesting an emergency supply of a salbutamol inhaler recently. He lives elsewhere but was working locally. We accessed his summary care record (SCR) and, to our surprise, discovered that he had not been prescribed anything since 2015. Before then, he was regularly prescribed beclomethasone and salbutamol inhalers. In addition, the surgery details he provided were incorrect.

We contacted the surgery listed on his SCR to be told that it never sees him because he obtains prescriptions from out-of-hour clinics, albeit there was nothing noted on his SCR since mid-2015.

We were concerned (as was his GP) that his therapy was not being reviewed. He was previously using beclometasone consistently but had requested only salbutamol from the out-of-hours clinics for over a year.

He was neither wheezing nor struggling for breath, so we advised him to go to a convenient out-of-hours clinic but also to see his GP for a thorough review. We emphasised the importance of regular use of his beclomethasone preventer inhaler.

Although it was extremely helpful to have SCR access, if we had write capability as well, we would have added the request for the emergency supply and noted our concerns. Such a capability would facilitate a far more accurate record for other health professionals to view.

There is a saying that goes: “If it isn’t written down it never happened”. If we were able to record our interventions where it matters we could demonstrate the value we add to healthcare.

We encourage other community pharmacists to share examples of their SCR use via these pages of The Pharmaceutical Journal, so all readers can learn from other colleagues’ experiences.

Louise Laming

Graham Phillips

Manor Pharmacy Group


Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2016.20201616

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