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Independents' Day

GP 'new deal' money to go towards pharmacists accessing summary care records

The £7.5m pledged by the health secretary to ‘support community pharmacists’ will be used to give them access to summary care records - a policy that was originally announced in 2013.

The Government announced that pharmacists across England will be able to access patients’ summary care records, with consent, in a bid to reduce the need to take up GP consultations and better tailor patients’ care.

It is the latest of the ‘new deal’ pledges to have been based on existing policy, after Pulse revealed that the ‘new’ £10m fund for struggling practices was based on existing money and a current pilot for practices that have been deemed ‘inadequate’ by the CQC, while many of the pledges regarding recruitment were announced earlier in the year by NHS England.

The latest scheme for pharmacists will be funded through £7.5 million of investment from the £1bn primary care infrastructure fund which Jeremy Hunt pledged would be used to ‘support community pharmacists with training and appropriate tools’ during his announcement of the ‘new deal’ for general practice last month.

Plans unveiled last week, following a successful pilot in 140 sites around England, will make the SCR available to approved community pharmacists and pharmacy technicians via a secure, monitored system.

A report evaluating the success of the pilots found 85% of pharmacists involved in pilots agreed, or strongly agreed that SCR access reduced the need for them to contact a patient’s GP.

It also shows that in 18% of encounters, SCR access helped to avoid a prescribing error.

Minister of state for community and social care Alistair Burt MP said: ‘Pharmacists are an untapped resource in our health service – as experts in medicines, they can help people to manage their conditions and take some of the pressure off our GPs.’

‘That’s why it makes complete sense to give them the ability to access patients’ summary care records, where appropriate.

“So we’re investing up to £7.5 million to give community pharmacists the training and tools they need to access a patient’s summary care record.’

Readers' comments (8)

  • Hmmm - is it just me or do pharmacists spend a fair amount of time selling the general public remedies that lack a good evidence base? Is this the resource the NHS needs to tap and fund....

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  • how much would it cost to have a pharmacist attached to a practice?

    they will have access to records

    on a full time basis of course

    i bet less

    more productive and beneficial for each practice and the patients

    money is being "reallocated" "regurgitated" "rebranded" in the wrong direction

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  • We already employ two full-time Pharmacists to do our medication reviews and changes. This helps, but what we really need is more clinical input. Our Pharmacists do not have the necessary clinical training to do this.

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  • @Anonymous | GP Partner | 01 July 2015 1:22pm

    Believe me, we're not all like that, and there are a whole load of us who would love more than anything to get rid of all the nonsense over the counter and start selling good, robust medicines instead.

    I try my best, as do many other excellent, vocal pharmacists that I know. I think this comment sums up entirely why we campaign for more OTC EBM, and why we spend hours of our lives blogging and shouting about how the likes of homeopathy is useless.

    The problem is, we're swimming against a large, faceless, corporate tide. We really need pharmacy bodies like the RPS and GPhC, as well as the MHRA etc, to step up next to us and really start shouting.

    Most pharmacists don't sell this stuff because they want to. They sell it because a) they've no choice in what goes on their shelves and b) they're so tired after a 12-16 hour day that they don't have the energy to check the evidence base.

    The prevailing opinion of my profession is, however, that of quack shopkeepers, and that's such a shame. There are a lot of us who really, really care about patients and we have a really unique set of skills that could so benefit other HCPs, yet we're constantly overlooked because of our poor image.

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  • In my experience, this will introduce at least 10 requests for "urgent" appointments a day as they are unable to diagnose to treat rashes, a single high bp reading, headache or fungal nail. they are not able to decipher what is urgent and what can wait for the next availble routine appointment. will just add more work load for GPs, at GPs expense. We need clinicians who tow the bottom line and do not just pass the buck to bear no responsibility.

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  • Until pharmacists stop passing the buck for everything even simple conjunctivitis and telling patients hat everything is urgent then nothing will improve.

    Even had a pharmacist call me the other day saying he had dispensed a medication knowing it might have been an error, then rang me afterwards and asked me to prescribe something different and then asked what I was going to do about the patient being charged again... You can't make this stuff up.

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  • Why can't all practices be dispensing?? That way we will have many more pharmacists working together with us, pts will prefer it and the profits will go into Primary Care to further develop services. Win win for all........ but this will destroy the likes of Boots/Lloyds and consequently it will go against all that the Plutocratic government stand for.

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