Giving pharmacists read-write access to patient records is a “public safety issue of a prime nature”, Nigel Clarke, former chair of the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has said.
Speaking to The Pharmaceutical Journal as he stepped down as chair — after eight years in post — Clarke said he regretted that more progress on the issue had not been made, adding that “some of the reasons that people have given for not acting on that have not been very convincing”.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has been calling for read-write access for pharmacists since 2015.
In February 2022, the Department of Health and Social Care published a target for each integrated care system (ICS) to set up a ‘shared care record’, accessible to health and adult social care providers by 2024.
However, enquiries by The Pharmaceutical Journal revealed that pharmacist access was not being prioritised under the targets, with a spokesperson for the DHSC saying that “the initial phase of the shared care records programme has been to prioritise access for GPs and trusts”.
During the interview, Clarke also spoke of the future direction of the registration assessment, which had moved online during the COVID-19 pandemic. The regulator said previously that the assessment will remain in an online format until 2024, and it recently contracted the global exam provider BTL to run the process of assessment.
However, Clarke added that there is now “a question for my successor and counsel going forwards as to whether the registration assessment is the best way of determining whether people meet the standards to be able to register. And I think that needs to be revisited”.