Scotland has published a framework for its Chronic Medication Service which it plans roll-out nationally in April 2010.

The Chronic Medication Service aims to enable shared care of patients with long term conditions between community pharmacists and GPs, backed by IT links between the two professions.

The CMS offers patients with LTCs the chance to benefit from ‘pharmaceutical care planning’ with their community pharmacist as well as shared care and repeat dispensing.

When a patient signs up for the CMS the pharmacy’s patient medication record will send an electronic notification to the GP’s IT system which then allows the GP to choose whether to enter into a shared care agreement with the option to generate serial prescriptions for up to 48 weeks.

The pharmacist draws up a pharmaceutical care plan with the patient and if a shared care agreement is in place relevant information shared between the pharmacy and the GP with informed patient consent. At the end of the serial prescription time period the pharmacist sends an electronic end of care treatment summary and a request for a new serial prescription.

The framework outlines how the CMS should work and the principles that should underpin it.

Prof Lewis Ritchie, chairman of the CMS Advisory Group, said the CMS had significant potential to secure enhanced patient care and professional collaborative working.

He added: “Resilient information technology, timely communications and a shared understanding – among both patients and health professionals – will be key factors for successful realisation of CMS.”

The advisory group said that in future the CMS offered the opportunity to develop a patient version of the pharmaceutical care plan which could be hosted electronically as part of the Scottish eHealth programme aims to provide individual patient health plans.

Early adopter GP practices and community pharmacists are currently testing the CMS system before national roll-out and pharmacy representatives are in talks with the Scottish government about payment for the CMS.

The CMS is the third part of Scotland’s ePharmacy programme. Its electronic minor ailments service went live in 2006 and its electronic Acute Medication Service in July 2009.