As they process personal data, pharmacies are required to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force in Europe on 25 May.

Jignesh Patel, pharmacy director of Rohpharm Pharmacy in London, explains how the regulation has increased his workload.

‘GDPR and information governance is one of the biggest things that pharmacy is going through.

‘The current issue we’re facing, and this is where the risks to GDPR and data sharing can occur, is that we have to record data in several resources for all our commissioned services.

‘The problem is that if the recording isn’t done properly, it can lead to missed information and if someone else is making a clinical decision it could be harmful to the patient.

‘[GDPR] is something we never used to do [before] and now we have to add that to our workload on a day-to-day basis. It is time consuming – I’d say it probably takes me an hour, an hour and a half a day.

‘There is a lot of consent, explanation and policy writing – making sure they’re up to date. These all take time.

‘I’ve been working with one GP practice to get access to their records through a data-sharing agreement – which was signed after we both made sure we’re compliant with GDPR.

‘That practice supports me but that’s [only] one of the nine practices I work with. The others don’t support me because they don’t have the system.

‘The system gives me full access to the patients’ records where I can see their history, investigations, diagnoses and consultations. Any consultation I do goes on the record so that the GP or any healthcare professional within the organisation sees exactly what I did and what agreements I made.

‘But it means that every time I do something I have to get patient consent and record it.

‘[For example], [take] our delivery service where the driver has to take a medication to a patient’s home. We need GDPR consent for the driver to pick up that medication and ensure it’s securely delivered to the patient in the right package.

‘All of these [things] may seem to be half-a-minute or two-minute steps but when you’re looking at hundreds of patients per day that time actually adds on.’