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Pharmacies given access to medical records to relieve GP strain

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High street pharmacies will be given access to medical records under new plans by NHS England to relieve pressure on doctors.

This autumn will see the beginning of the scheme, which will allow pharmacists to see a patient’s medical history, or Summary Care Record (SCR), with their consent.

The scheme was trialled in late 2013 to early this year, with 92% of pharmacists claiming it helped improved how they serve patients.

The Health & Social Care Information Centre report reveals that 21 pharmacies accessed SCR at least once a week on average, and five of these sites accessed it more than three times per week.

85% of survey participants either agree or strongly agree that it reduces the need to contact the patient’s GP practice to gather more information to treat them properly.

What do the experts say?

Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, says: “Pharmacists play a key role in the community in supporting patients with their medication management.

“Patients with long term conditions who are on several medicines may need particular help with understanding the risks and benefits of their medication regime.

“By having access to patient summary care records pharmacists can provide a person centred service for the patients they serve.

“However we would like to emphasise that any decisions about sharing the access to patients’ medical records should be with full consent of patients.”

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