Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon has launched the country’s Chronic Medication Service, which aims to set up shared care records between GPs and pharmacists by the end of the year.

The service is one of four elements in Scotland’s e-pharmacy programme, which the Scottish Government has said will cost £5.2m a year to deliver.

The CMS aims to enable shared care of patients with long term conditions between GP practices and pharmacists, backed by IT links between the two.

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. This will allow the GP to choose whether to enter into a shared care agreement, with an 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 can be 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.

Sturgeon said the CMS would transform the role of pharmacists and make better use of their skills and expertise.

She added: “As well as improving patient care the service will also help reduce drug wastage.

"In these tough financial times it is important to be as efficient as possible. Thanks to this new system, patients will receive a new, five star service within existing budgets.”

The CMS is being implemented between May and December this year. The Scottish Government has said that pharmacists are each registering up to 50 patients. Fees to community pharmacists for providing the service are being provided from within the existing community pharmacy global sum.