Community pharmacists should have full read/write access to patient records to improve care and help join up NHS services, according to a white paper from the Propriety Association of Great Britain (PAGB) — the trade association representing the manufacturers of branded over-the-counter medicines, self-care medical devices and food supplements.
The move, which could include making recommendations around medicines, treatments and interventions, such as flu vaccination, would provide consistency in information sharing across pharmacy and other health services, according to the PAGB.
A national strategy to encourage people to self-care, which would have community pharmacists at its heart, should also be developed to help save money and take pressure off GPs, the white paper also recommends.
John Smith, chief executive at the PAGB, said giving pharmacists full read/write access would improve collaboration across the NHS, boost patient self-care and reduce unnecessary demand on other parts of the health service.
He noted that the model mirrors developments in Singapore and Austria that have improved pharmacy’s integration into wider health services, adding: “With recent prescribing restrictions for over-the-counter products, it is vital NHS England puts policies like this in place that will give people confidence to consider community pharmacies as the first port of call for advice and treatments for self-treatable conditions.”
The notion of allowing full read/write access in patient records was welcomed by Malcolm Harrison, chief executive at the Company Chemists’ Association, which represents high street chains including Boots and LloydsPharmacy. He said it would “revolutionise” the way that community pharmacies work together.