RPS, PSNC and Pharmacy Voice issued a joint letter to the Telegraph in response which is in part published today. Below is the full version that was sent to the paper:
It is wholly misleading to assert that commercial companies will have access to the NHS Summary Care Record (Tesco can see your medical records, Monday 10 August).
Individual pharmacists accessing the record will only be able to do so with the consent of the patient and they must have an NHS Smartcard with a chip and a passcode. Every access will be recorded by the NHS and traceable back to the individual who accessed it. Private medical information will never be linked to patient’s store loyalty cards or any marketing promotions.
Pharmacists are subject to the same degree of regulation as doctors and nurses and any breach of confidentiality would be subject to regulatory investigation. Data protection law forbids any use of personal patient data beyond individual patient care.
Pharmacists’ access to the record has shown real benefit to patients and over-stretched GPs. For example, in 18% of cases where the record was accessed, the risk of a prescribing error was avoided. In 92% of cases, the pharmacist had enough information to treat the patient and avoid sending them to their GP surgery or A&E.
The Summary Care Record does not include diagnoses, information is currently restricted to medicines prescribed, patient allergies and known adverse reactions to medicines.
Currently, poor care can result because different health professionals treating the same patient don’t have access to vital health information.
This is totally unacceptable and patients agree with this too. An overwhelming majority of the British public - 85% according to a YouGov poll in August 2014 - want every healthcare professional treating them to have secure electronic access to key data from their GP record.
The increasing demands on the health care systems means that all professionals need to work better together helping people get the right care, at the right time, in the right place. Pharmacists as experts in medicines need the right information to provide better care to patients.
Sandra Gidley, Royal Pharmaceutical Society Board Chair for England
Sue Sharpe, Chief Executive, Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee
Rob Darracott, Chief Executive, Pharmacy Voice