The government should provide pharmacists with full read and write access to patient Summary Care Records (SCR) in community pharmacies and GP surgeries, the All Party Pharmacy Group (APPG) has said in a report published on Wednesday (2 February).

The report is from the APPG’s first evidence session into the government’s community pharmacy reforms with a focus on the role of pharmacists working in GP surgeries.

'Next logical step'

Under the current system, pharmacists can only read Summary Care Records. The group is calling for the government to allow them to also amend these records and has suggested a deadline of April 2017.

The group said that this is the ‘next logical step’ and would mean that other healthcare professionals would be more aware of any interventions made by pharmacists.

A spokesperson added: ‘This is important as it would allow pharmacists to draw upon additional information to make more informed clinical decisions and reduce medicine related errors.’

Key benefits

The discussion was chaired by Sir Kevin Barron MP and Oliver Colvile MP. Three experts gave evidence, including Devon LPC chair, David Bearman; Sheffield LPC vice chair, Crispin Bliss; and head of medicines managements NHS Sheffield CCG, Dr Peter Magirr.

Allowing pharmacists to read and add comments to patient records would improve the quality of healthcare, according to a statement launched by The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) in September 2015.

Other recommendations the group made were to:

  • Allow pharmacists access to the same records used by GPs
  • Conduct a full evaluation of the pilot schemes, particularly to determine the effect pharmacist intervention has had on hours of GP time freed up
  • Encourage more community pharmacists to diagnose and prescribe medicines to patients

The next APPG session is scheduled for 6 February.