Pharmacy teams should have access to up-to-date records, such as shared care records, MPs have been told in evidence submitted to a parliamentary inquiry.

The Community Pharmacy IT Group (CP ITG), of which the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) is a member, has submitted a formal response to the health and social care committee inquiry into digital transformation in the NHS.

Its written response to the questions set out by the inquiry, the CP ITG argued that:

  • Pharmacy teams should have access to up-to-date records information, e.g. from shared care records, GP Connect and summary care records with additional information;
  • The Booking and Referral Standards (BaRS) should be extended so that future referrals into and from pharmacy can be communicated seamlessly;
  • A framework for the development of pharmacy IT should be developed to ensure IT suppliers are better able to support pharmacy teams and their delivery of services;
  • The community pharmacy data standard should be expanded to enable services information to be efficiently recorded;
  • IT standards are needed so that suppliers can enable automatic reporting to the NHS Business Services Authority; and
  • The EPS next generation project should be further developed.

The inquiry is exploring the use of digital technology within the NHS and examining changes that could improve service delivery and patient outcomes.

The changes proposed included digitising health and care records, and enabling records access across primary, secondary and social care. The inquiry is also considering legacy IT systems used within the NHS.

CP ITG’s evidence set out suggestions for NHS App features and enabling community pharmacy to go paperless.

It said that some progress has made to enable community pharmacies to access shared care records within areas of England such as Dorset, but that local processes and variations were making governance and technical implementation ‘unnecessarily burdensome’ for contractors and affecting implementation timescales.

It stressed that shared care records systems should all follow aligned processes, and health and care workers should have the same training and sign-up procedures regardless of the geographic setting.

‘The Government should mandate a date by which shared care records systems should have rolled out into community pharmacies, and should also work with all Electronic Prescription Service and Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) pharmacy IT suppliers to roll out GP Connect integrations within the systems,’ the submission said.

The deadline for submissions to the inquiry was 10 June 2022 and the committee will be considering the submissions following summer recess. A spokesperson for the committee confirmed that evidence sessions are planned for the autumn, but there were no fixed dates yet.

The Department of Health and Social Care renewed its commitment to roll out shared care records to community pharmacy last month.

The policy paper Plan for Digital Health and Social Care, published on 29 June, outlined the Government's promise to ‘support collaborative working through PCNs and neighbourhood teams, increasing integration of primary care with UEC [urgent and emergency care], community pharmacy and other services within ICSs, including providing safe and seamless access to patient records within defined roles by March 2025’.

CP ITG was formed in 2017 by the PSNC, National Pharmacy Association (NPA), Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), Company Chemists' Association (CCA).