RPS provides a ‘decision tool’ for pharmacists accessing patient Summary Care Records

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has produced a decision tool for community pharmacists as a guide to accessing a patient’s electronic Summary Care Record (SCR).

SCRs are an electronic summary of key clinical information about patients taken from their NHS GP record.

Authorised healthcare professionals who join a controlled scheme can view a patient’s SCR, once the patient has consented, to find out clinical information required for clinical decision making.

To support community pharmacists in this new role, the RPS’s decision tool is designed to aid professional judgement. I

t includes a decision making matrix, which covers governance requirements for accessing a patient’s SCR, plus potential scenarios where there may be a professional clinical need to do so.

These scenarios include; supplying medicines in an emergency, finding out about allergies and checking potential medicine interactions with over the counter medicines.

E-cigarettes hailed for helping 20,000 smokers to quit habit

Electronic cigarettes are helping as many people to give up tobacco as other methods combined, research suggests, The Times reports. About 20,000 “vapers” gave up smoking in 2014 who would not otherwise have quit.

Experts said that e-cigarettes were saving lives in a “consumer revolution” outside the NHS.

The figures represent a relatively small proportion of Britain’s 8.5 million smokers, suggesting that vaping is unlikely to drive smoking to extinction any time soon.

About 200,000 people quit smoking long-term each year, mostly without help.

Valeant under investigation by US regulators

Valeant Pharmaceuticals is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, it has confirmed, the BBC reports.

"The company confirmed that it received a subpoena from the SEC in the fourth quarter of 2015," said Valeant spokeswoman Laurie Little.

Valeant, which has been struggling to maintain investor confidence amid mounting scandals, said the SEC probe was one of "several ongoing investigations".

The firm's shares closed down 18%.

MP Derek Thomas in bid to bring health minister to West Cornwall to discuss community pharmacies

West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas held a catch-up meeting with local pharmacists last week after raising concerns in parliament about proposed changes to the funding arrangements for community pharmacy provision, The Cornishman reports.

Last week Mr Thomas led a debate in the House of Commons, asking the Government what assurances could be given to independent community pharmacists and what consultation has been conducted with pharmacy patients.

His speech followed proposals outlined by the Department of Health to reduce its funding commitment for Community Pharmacy by £170m while at the same time expressing the wish for much greater use of community pharmacy and pharmacists.

He has also asked Health Minister Alistair Burt to visit West Cornwall to meet the area's independent pharmacists.

Ten new 'healthy' towns to be built in England

Fast food-free zones near schools could soon be a reality in 10 NHS England-backed “healthy” new towns designed to encourage people to exercise more, eat better and live independently into old age, The Guardian reports.

The NHS hopes that by helping to shape the way the towns are built it can begin to address major healthcare problems including obesity and dementia and establish a blueprint that will be followed elsewhere.

The 10 towns selected, stretching from Darlington to Devon, will comprise more than 76,000 homes and 170,000 residents.

They will be announced formally by the NHS England chief executive, Simon Stevens, at the King’s Fund in London on Tuesday.

Salt levels in everyday foods have soared in recent years, research reveals

Supermarkets and food manufacturers have been accused of exploiting the Government’s shift to a system of voluntary regulation to increase salt levels in many popular products, the Independent reports.

Campaigners are demanding “urgent action” from ministers as new research shows the levels of salt in many everyday items such as soup, cheddar cheese and ready meals have shot up in recent years.

In many cases salt levels have increased since 2010, when then Health Secretary Andrew Lansley removed responsibility for salt reduction from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and handed it back to the food industry.

Under the so-called Responsibility Deal, firms signed up to a voluntary code to cut salt in food.