Joining up pharmacy – advice for CCGs

Friday, 16 August 2013

Dr Shaun O’Hanlon, Clinical and Development Director for EMIS, considers the pivotal role of pharmacists in this week’s issue of Health Service Journal – the UK’s most influential magazine for NHS managers.

In his latest article for the Resource Centre section of the magazine, Dr O’Hanlon encourages clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to consider how they can further integrate community pharmacists into the wider healthcare team.

While Release 2 of the electronic prescriptions service (EPS) is a welcome start to connecting pharmacists with GP surgeries, O’Hanlon envisages more exciting possibilities for the future.

These include integrating GP and pharmacy software so that the professions can work more closely together in the care of patients – in particular, those with long-term conditions.

Integration work with RX Systems

The article references EMIS’ work with pharmacy software provider RX Systems – part of EMIS Group – to enable direct electronic communication between the two companies’ systems (in the EPS service, communication goes via the Spine).

The results of a pilot project in East London are showing encouraging benefits – including clearer communication, more informed patient care and even reduced drugs wastage.

One of the GPs involved in the project, Dr Barry Sullman, says: “Linking GP and pharmacy systems is worth its weight in gold in terms of accuracy of prescriptions and time and cost savings of many hundreds of pounds.”

Commissioning joined-up care

O’Hanlon is excited by the potential for further integration between GP and pharmacy systems.  For example, giving pharmacists access to elements of the patient’s GP record – with consent – would enable the profession to play its fullest possible role in patient care, giving CCGs new options for creating efficient patient pathways.

He concludes: “In an NHS that is struggling to balance the books while coping with growing need, it makes sense to maximise the skills of the UK’s highly trained community pharmacists.”

Read the article in full

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