Pharmacists and GPs can now share vaccination records electronically in a new scheme to help identify unvaccinated at-risk groups and prevent others from being contacted unnecessarily.

Using this service, GP systems can pick up when a pharmacy changes a patient’s medical record, which saves time and ensures all vaccination information is up-to-date, according to NHS Digital. It is also said to improve data quality and reduce the possibility of errors. 

More than 30,000 electronic messages involving flu vaccine data were sent this winter in limited trials across England. 

The service has already been made available for pharmacies and GPs using PharmOutcomes and SystmOne. It will roll out to providers using other digital systems later this year.

A pilot initially launched in Leeds last October involved 113 community pharmacies and 83 GP practices, leading to 2,500 messages being shared.

Dr Vishen Ramkisson, GP and senior clinical lead at NHS Digital, said: ‘Services which make it easier for health professionals to share critical information, such as about whether a vaccination has been given, enable them to provide the best care possible to patients.’

Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB) chair Professor Maureen Baker said: ‘The Leeds pilot is an early example of the benefits of digital information sharing between GPs and pharmacies that our standards help to deliver. 

‘For GPs, getting up-to-date information about patient pharmacy treatments is key to their ongoing care. And sharing the information digitally saves GPs’ precious time while making care better and safer.’