Pharmacy professionals have been invited to give feedback on the National Care Records Service (NCRS), which will replace the Summary Care Record portal (SCRa) from September.

In addition to accessing a patient’s Summary Care Record, the new service also allows pharmacy professionals that can already access SCR – that is, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) – to access additional information, as well as promising an ‘improved look and feel’ and easy access on mobile devices.

Pharmacy professionals have been invited to provide feedback on the NCRS, using patient test details provided by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), as well as to participate in user research interviews with NHS England’s Transformation Directorate.

The NCRS links a patient’s Summary Care Record to additional information – for instance, it can signpost a patient’s mental health crisis plans and end of care plans via the NHS Record Locator, or show demographic information like name, date of birth, NHS Number, and EPS nomination setting via the Personal Demographics Service (PDS).

It can also flag where a patient may have reasonable adjustments that inform patient interactions.

Both the NCRS and the SCRa are available now for pharmacy professionals to use, with the SCRa being phased out by September of this year.

Daniel Ah-Thion, community pharmacy IT policy manager for the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) described the NCRS as a ‘welcome improvement’ that brought pharmacy professionals one step closer to having easy access to medical records when and where they need it.

He added that the move should ‘prompt NHS England to also modernise pharmacy SCR usage protocols and the consent model’, which requires pharmacy teams to request a patient’s consent to view their SCR, either on a one-time or long-term basis.

PSNC said that changes should be made ‘as soon as possible’, calling for greater interoperability of IT systems so that ‘busy pharmacy teams have fewer systems to log in to’.

In February, an expert panel convened by the Health and Social Care Select Committee said that the government had made ‘inadequate’ progress in digitising the NHS, including on integrated care records. The committee’s report warned that improvements had come too slowly and often lacked proper funding.

While the Hewitt review, published earlier this month, includes multiple recommendations on data usage and sharing, saying ICSs and NHS England ‘need to work together to create a single view of population and personal health’.