Press Release

RPS Wales calls for access to patient health records

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society will today launch its Policy Vision for Wales, a blueprint for how pharmacists can help patients and strengthen NHS Wales over the next 5 years.

Ahead of the Assembly Elections in May 2016, Steps to Better Health and Wellbeing calls upon policy makers to commit to harnessing the skills of the pharmacy profession to improve patient care at a time when there are real pressures on GPs and hospital services.

The Policy Vision will be launched at a conference to discuss how the NHS is improving medicines safety, with key note speeches from Vaughan Gething, Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Health, and representatives from across NHS Wales.
The Policy Vision has three calls to action for the next 5 years:
•     To establish a pharmacy led-Welsh Chronic Medication Service
•     To permit pharmacist access to individual health records
•     To fully integrate pharmacist expertise into NHS multidisciplinary teams
The NHS spends a huge amount of money on medicines. It makes sense that the GP, the hospital consultant, the pharmacist and the patient know what's going on. Pharmacists’ access to patient health records, with patient consent, will help improve care and make for better informed decisions, especially out of hours. 
Patients with chronic conditions could be better supported as pharmacists would be able to review their medicines with the full picture about their health and help them get the most benefit from their treatment.  This will not only reduce medicines-related emergency admissions to hospital, but will reduce pressure in GPs surgeries.
Suzanne Scott-Thomas, Chair of RPS Wales, said:
“Our members – pharmacists from across Wales on every high street and in every hospital – have highlighted these three critical asks that could lead to a step change in the way people access health advice and support in their own community, whilst also ensuring a seamless service. 
People are less worried about structures, professions and bureaucracy than they are about getting a good local service and knowing that the health team that supports them can share information to make things simple and safe for them.
So we welcome positive moves from our partner professions across the NHS in Wales to work together to better share patient data with pharmacists, a vital step for the coming years.
There are many people in Wales suffering chronic conditions, and with the NHS under such pressure, we look forward to working with the Welsh Government to make a step change in the services available in our communities.”
Vaughan Gething, Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Health, said:
“The Welsh Government recognises that pharmacists need the right tools to do their jobs effectively – one of these is access to the individual patient record.  We are exploring how pharmacists can access this record when patients have given their consent.”