Community Pharmacy Scotland, representing the owners of Scotland’s 1200 chemists, has made appropriate access to the Scottish Emergency Care Summary (ECS) part of its manifesto pledges.
The organisation has called on the Scottish government to allow community pharmacists to obtain access to the record, when appropriate, as part of their latest manifesto document which lays out the needs of community pharmacists for the future.
Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS)’s head of corporate affairs, Alex MacKinnon, told EHI Primary Care: “We are looking to get permission to obtain appropriate access to the section of the ECS which contains medication information and can warn of any drug interactions a community pharmacist should be aware of.
“A pharmacist may be aware of this information for regular customers, but for each new patient, ensuring their safety is essential. This is especially the case at the moment, with community pharmacists taking responsibility for delivery of unscheduled care.”
The manifesto, which has been sent to all members of the Scottish parliament, chides policy makers at NHS Scotland. MacKinnon said that there had been ‘lots of chat’ about giving community pharmacists access, but no firm decisions had been made.
The manifesto advises: “CPS maintains that the ability to make better use of community pharmacists’ key skills, to make valuable contribution to the management of chronic disease and to ensure effective pharmacist independent prescribing, is dependent on community pharmacists having access to appropriate parts of the electronic patient record.”
Martin Green, CPS chairman, added: “We believe our members need to have as much information on patients as possible with regard to their medication in the interests of safety. We regard appropriate access to electronic patient records as essential.”
The Scottish parliament says it is considering this extension. Minister for public health, Shona Robinson, said: “As part of the national eHealth strategy, the ECS programme is currently developing a business case to consider extending the clinical user groups that could have access to the patient ECS record. Community pharmacists are clearly identified as a user group for consideration for the next stage of the ECS programme.”
However Dr Stuart Scott, joint deputy chair of the BMA’s Scottish General Practitioners Committee, said patients should be consulted before any moves to widen access to the ECS and concerns should be dealt with before plans can go ahead.
He told The Herald newspaper: “Certainly the patient representatives on the Emergency Care Summary Programme Board were not particularly in favour of pharmacies getting access at this stage.
“Some rural patients were worried about confidentiality and there were concerns some of the major corporate players such as Boots may use information for reasons other than just treating patients. They were worried it might be used for targeting insurance and for targeting marketing.”