A cross-party group of MPs has backed calls for prescribers to be prevented from nominating pharmacies when electronic transmission of prescriptions (ETP) is rolled out.

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) is already lobbying the government to stop the National Programme for IT’s plans to allow prescribers’ to nominate pharmacies. The PSNC claims prescriber nomination could lead to direction of prescriptions and jeopardise patient choice.

The All Party Pharmacy Group has now backed the PSNC in a report to ministers as first predicted by EHI Primary Care earlier this month.

Dr Howard Stoate, chairman of the All Party Pharmacy Group which represents more than 100 MPs and peers, said patients should continue to have the choice of which pharmacy dispenses their prescription when ETP is introduced.

Dr Stoate, who is also a GP, added: "Patient choice is a key principle in NHS reform, and it should apply when paperless prescribing is introduced. Speaking as both a politician and a GP, I say it is important that prescribers do not direct their patients’ prescriptions to a particular pharmacy. It should be for the patient to choose where to have their medication dispensed. The new technology should be designed to allow that to happen."

The call to prevent nomination of prescriptions was one of six recommendations in the report to ministers on NPfIT from the All Party Pharmacy Group. The group also recommended that pharmacists be given role-based access to patient information while ensuring consent and confidentiality are respected and that pharmacists be allowed to upload summary information about their contact with patients to the NHS Care Records Service.

The other recommendations were that cross border arrangements for sending prescriptions and patient information electronically between the home countries should be clarified, that private prescriptions and controlled drugs should be incorporated within ETP roll-out plans and that a national clinical lead for pharmacy should be appointed.

For the full report go to http://www.appg.org.uk/documents/reporttoministers.pdf [PDF, 160K].

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