The Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB) has said that pharmacists should have full read and write access to patient health records.
The PRSB, which creates standards for health and social care records, was asked by the NHS to look at what information community pharmacies — as well as optometry, dentistry, ambulance and community services — would need access to, as part of shared care records.
In its report, published on 5 October 2022, the PRSB noted that community pharmacists have already used summary care records to “provide safer care and signpost to other primary and secondary care NHS funded services”, and recommended pharmacists have “full read and write access to the patient health record to improve patient care and patient safety”.
It added that “due to the nature and complexity of pharmacists’ involvement in care and treatment, it was determined that there would be no limits to the access that a fully qualified pharmacist could appropriately justify in determining the correct course of action for any patient they can individually identify”.
The PRSB also found that its existing core information standard (CIS), which defines what information should be available in shared care records, was already fit for use in community settings — including pharmacies — with “relevant Role Based Access Control (RBAC) and filtering”.
It said that the CIS correlates closely to generic GP records, leading it to conclude that initial pilot use of the CIS in community settings could be based on GP records.
“There is existing national infrastructure for accessing GP records in a consistent manner which could be explored through implementation pilots,” it says.
Daniel Ah-Thion, community pharmacy IT policy manager at the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), commented that “we welcome the new PRSB findings that the health information within the core information standard is relevant and critical to pharmacy settings and their ability to best provide care”.
“These findings further validate the work done by some localities to onboard pharmacies into some of the shared care record programmes and the ongoing planning work expanding this into additional areas. We’d also like to see the further development of a common IT standard linked with the CIS and built for use with all NHS records systems, so that pharmacies could more easily use systems integrated into shared care records and other records systems”.
Thorrun Govind, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society English Pharmacy Board, said that “the COVID-19 vaccination programme showed just how important it is for pharmacists to be able to update a patient’s record about their care”.
“If we are to make the most of the health and care workforce to reduce health inequalities and enhance patient care, then pharmacists must be able to access and update a clinical record wherever they may work.
“With a new generation of pharmacist independent prescribers, these standards show that it is high time the government accelerates the roll-out of read-write access to patient records for all pharmacists”.