Pharmacy professionals need better access to Summary Care Records

We and the Pharmaceutical Standards Negotiating Committee (PSNC) are calling for continued pharmacy access to Summary Care Records and Additional Information (SCRs with AI) following the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I), NHS Digital and NHSX, we state that community pharmacists need comprehensive access to electronic health records to provide the person-centred services set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

Currently under the Coronavirus Bill, pharmacists and their teams have been able to access data from SCR with AI and Local Health and Care Record (LHCR) medicines-related information, specifically relating to COVID-19.

The letter calls for new legislation to be introduced to enable ongoing access to SCR with AI.

It also highlights that LHCR access should be standard for pharmacy professionals to better support pharmacy patient care. The development of IT LHCR compatibility standards are also needed so pharmacists can access whichever LHCRs using their clinical system.

Claire Anderson, Chair of the English Pharmacy Board, said:

“It is important that we build a more digitally connected NHS and giving pharmacists continued access to the additional information in Summary Care Records is a good place to start. People are becoming increasingly familiar to working digitally and there is growing opinion on sharing information to provide the best possible care for patients.

“We support the ongoing work to set common clinical standards, which allows crucial information to flow across the health system. Ensuring that community pharmacy is part of that system is critical in providing better patient care.”

Alistair Buxton, PSNC Director of NHS Services, said:

"We need the NHS to do more to help us help patients. Pharmacy professionals should be able to easily access relevant patient information so they can support patients to make the most of their medicines and identify any possible concerns, thereby reducing the likelihood of problems escalating.

Access to this additional information during the pandemic has been crucial for pharmacy teams, and it would be a retrograde step if the amount of detail available to them reverts to its pre-pandemic level."

Read the letter in full here.