Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW) has called for the next Welsh Government to develop a system for electronic prescriptions, ahead of the Senedd elections next month (6 May).
Introducing electronic prescriptions across Wales should be a ‘key priority’, CPW said in its own manifesto, to ‘facilitate improvements in the existing Repeat Dispensing service by transferring the management of repeat prescriptions from general practice to community pharmacy.’
‘The archaic system of still having green pieces of paper moving between GP practices and pharmacies, often via patients, must end. The [Covid] crisis has highlighted the inefficiencies of paper-based prescribing systems,’ CPW said.
The body’s manifesto highlighted several changes it wants to see implemented for community pharmacy in Wales over the next five years, including a single patient digital record to be used by all clinical providers and which community pharmacies would have access to.
CPW also pushed for the rollout of a new user-friendly virtual consultation platform, which would be co-designed by pharmacists for use across the entire community pharmacy network.
‘This builds on the increasing practice of people connecting via the internet rather than in person while recognising the need to protect the important personal relationship that patients have with their local community pharmacist to ensure the delivery of consistent advice when given remotely,’ the body said.
RPS Wales manifesto
The Welsh arm of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) — which also published a manifesto for community pharmacy ahead of election day — similarly pushed for digital reforms.
The RPS said that the next Welsh Government should ‘accelerate the development and roll-out of digital prescribing solutions across Wales’.
Like CPW, RPS Wales suggested pharmacists should have access to an updated and shared electronic patient record to help ‘reduce the risk of medication errors and emergency hospital admissions.’
Both organisations also called for an increased focus on independent prescribing, including boosting the number of prescribers.
CPW said that the Government should aim to have one independent prescriber ‘in each community pharmacy by 2030, ensuring that all Community Pharmacist Independent Prescribers are properly utilised with fully commissioned services.’
Meanwhile, RPS said that the Government must ‘further integrate pharmacist independent prescribing into routine NHS care’ and also ensure the ‘universal roll-out of services proven to benefit patients and improve capacity’.
RPS also urged the Government to support the mental health and wellbeing of pharmacists by ensuring they have access to NHS-funded support.