Pharmacists To Get Access To Patients’ Electronic Records, UK

February 13, 2009 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Pharmacists will gain access to the Summary Care Record for the first time under plans by NHS IT managers, Pulse can reveal. Pilots are being considered in community pharmacies across the country, as a key step in the Government drive for pharmacies to take on more clinical work.

The plan has provoked concern among GPs over patient confidentiality, but a spokesperson for NHS Connecting for Health said it was vital for the rollout of the hugely delayed care record.

‘The plans are at an early stage, but Connecting for Health has already said we are in favour of it and we see this as a positive move,’ the spokesperson said.

Bradford and Airedale Teaching PCT is the first PCT in the country to express an interest in the scheme and is currently canvassing local community pharmacists to assess support.

Connecting for Health said other PCTs were also interested.

But Dr Alun Griffiths, a GP in Bradford and a member of the local medical committee, said he was very uncomfortable about the plans and was not convinced the benefits outweighed the risks.

‘If you open access more widely then you have an even greater risk of a loss of confidentiality, particularly in pharmacies where you will be working with other people who live in the same community,’ he said.

Richard Hoey, Deputy Editor of Pulse, said: ‘GPs have been nervous for a while that the Government would choose to give pharmacists access to electronic records – a recent Pulse survey found only 20% would support the move.

‘There are advantages, in terms of joined up patient care, but there are also at least a couple of key concerns. The first is simply that the more people who have access to confidential records, the more likely a breach of privacy becomes. Secondly, pharmacists may be allowed to overwrite information on medical records, which is a pretty controversial thing for a non-doctor to do.’

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