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IT on track to enable pharmacists to update GP records from February

IT on track to enable pharmacists to update GP records from February

Plans for a new IT functionality enabling community pharmacists to update GP records automatically are on track to go ahead from February.

This is according to NHS England’s latest primary care bulletin, sent on Thursday, and comes as Pharmacy First is scheduled to launch 31 January.

The rollout date of the scheme, which will see pharmacists consult with patients for seven common conditions, is subject to the ‘appropriate digital systems being in place’ to support the services and NHS England had expressed concerns at the beginning of December that this may not happen.

Community pharmacy IT systems will automatically send details of patient consultations to general practice clinical IT systems from February, via GP Connect, to facilitate the Pharmacy First service in England.

A GP will then check and update the patient’s record – replacing the current need for general practice staff to transcribe information from emails to the patient record. GP IT system suppliers will enable this update by default.

When it announced the launch of Pharmacy First, which is aimed at freeing up GP appointments for more complex consultations, NHS England pledged to ‘significantly connect and improve’ the digital infrastructure between general practice and community pharmacy.

It said this would ‘streamline referrals’, ‘increase access’ to more parts of the GP patient record and improve how GP records are updated after patients are seen in community pharmacy.

NHS England also said it was planning to develop a clinical triage system to send electronic referrals for the seven common conditions from NHS 111 and urgent and emergency care settings to community pharmacy.

From the launch of the Pharmacy First scheme community pharmacies will have access to more parts of the GP record (medications, observations and investigations) and use the new Pharmacy First consultation record to capture the consultation.

The pharmacy contractor will ensure that a notification of the provision of the service is sent to the patient’s general practice on the day of provision or on the following working day.

Pharmacists will send an action message or alternative form of an ‘urgent action’ communication to the practice, where an action is required by the GP team, such as booking the patient in for a follow up or appointment.

If a problem occurs with the electronic notification system, the pharmacy contractor will need ensure a copy of the paperwork is sent or emailed to the GP practice.

The seven conditions covered by Pharmacy First

  • sinusitis.
  • sore throat.
  • acute otitis media.
  • infected insect bite.
  • impetigo.
  • shingles.
  • uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women

A version of this story was first published by Pulse’s sister title The Pharmacist


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