“In principle, giving community pharmacists access to patients’ relevant medical records – in the way that pharmacists based in GP practices will have - will be a good thing for patients and encourage more joined up working across the health and social care sectors.
“Pharmacists – like GPs – are highly trusted healthcare professionals and this move could further foster a more personalised pharmacist-patient relationship, and has the potential to improve the overall patient experience.
“There are also potential patient-safety benefits as giving pharmacists access to relevant information will help them to give advice to patients based on an accurate medical and drug history.
“It will be imperative that individual patient’s consent is given before giving pharmacists access to their records – and patients will need to be assured that as healthcare professionals, pharmacists are bound by the same confidentiality rules as GPs. Nevertheless, any access to medical records would need sufficient safeguards to ensure that the information is used properly and only in the best interests of patients.”
Professor Nigel Mathers, RCGP Honorary Secretary