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Pharmacies to be given access to GP records

Pharmacists will be allowed access to GP records in order to ensure that they ‘give people the right medicines’, the health secretary has announced.

Speaking to MPs in Parliament, Jeremy Hunt said that the Department of Health would be pressing ahead with a scheme to allow pharmacists to access patient records.

In 2011, a pilot scheme to allow pharmacists in Bradford access to Summary Care Records was scrapped in order to focus on building ‘trust and confidence in the SCR’.

But Mr Hunt has signalled the go-ahead for the scheme nationally.

He told MPs last week that ‘there is a lot that pharmacists can do’ and allowing them access to GP patient records will help to improve dispensing of medicines.

He said: ‘One change we are making that could make a big difference, where proper protections are in place for patients, is allowing pharmacists to access GP records so that they can give people the correct medicines, know about people’s allergies and things like that. There are lots of other things as well, though, and I look forward to the discussion.’

The change was welcomed by pharmacy bodies. Alastair Buxton, head of NHS services at the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee said: ‘PSNC and other pharmacy organisations have been lobbying on this topic for some time, so we are of course pleased to see the Health Secretary making a public commitment to this and we look forward to seeing the plans progress.’