Soon patients may be able to sign up for online access to their Summary Care Record from community pharmacy premises.

The Pan-Pharmacy NHS IT group, a body set up to ensure engagement between pharmacists and relevant Connecting for Health programmes, heard at its first meeting this month that patients might be able to register for CfH’s online patient portal Healthspace from community pharmacies.

Access to SCRs via Healthspace is to be tested by patients in some of the early adopter areas for the SCR later this month. To access their records patients will have to present two forms of ID confirming their residency and their address, which must be the same as the address held by their GP. Patients will also be issued with a smartcard that they will need to use when accessing their SCR.

The idea to use pharmacy staff to validate patients’ ID is seen as a potential solution to the long term arrangements for patient registration for access to HealthSpace.

A joint statement issued by the Pan Pharmacy NHS IT Group after its meeting states: “The pharmacy network offers accessibility and a trusted location that patients could sign up for access. Patients are likely to visit a pharmacy more often than a GP practice and this would support the profession’s expanding role in managing patient care. Further work will be carried out to consider the practicality of this in more detail.”

The pharmacy group meeting also heard that more than 40 million prescription messages have been issued via the service and that 69% of GP Practices and 68% of pharmacies are considered technically live and able to operate Release 1 of the EPS Service.

Advice from the pharmacy bodies is for all pharmacy contractors who have not done so to contact their chosen system supplier and make arrangements to upgrade to EPS Release 1. Pharmacy bodies are also advising pharmacists to use the EPS service to dispense prescriptions where practical to ensure that any problems with the system are identified and can be resolved before EPS becomes business critical.


Fiona Barr