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Summary Care Record rolled out to community pharmacists

23 June, 2015: Community pharmacists across England will be given the opportunity to access the Summary Care Record (SCR), in new plans announced today.

The SCR provides key clinical information about a patient, sourced from the GP record. It is used by authorised healthcare professionals, with the patient's consent, to support their care and treatment.3 Community pharmacists and pharmacy technicians will be provided with secure approved and monitored access to the SCR which will allow them to support patients with better informed and tailored care.

More than 96% of the population have an SCR and it is already being successfully used in many settings across the NHS, such as A&E departments, hospital pharmacies, NHS 111 and GP out of hours services and walk in centres.

Following a successful proof of concept across 140 sites4, NHS England has commissioned The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) to support all community pharmacies in England to implement access to the SCR.

A report assessing the effectiveness of the proof of concept found that SCR access in community pharmacies delivered benefits to patients, pharmacy and general practice, including:

  • In 92% of encounters where SCR was accessed, the pharmacist avoided the need to signpost the patient to other NHS care settings.
  • 85% of pharmacists surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that SCR reduced the need for them to contact the patient's GP.
  • In 18% of encounters, the risk of a prescribing error was avoided.

HSCIC will work in partnership with NHS England and closely with other organisations including the PSNC, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Pharmacy Voice, National Pharmacy Association (NPA) and General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) throughout the planning and delivery phases. Implementation is expected to begin in autumn 2015.

Minister of State for Community and Social Care, Alistair Burt MP said:

"Pharmacists are an untapped resource in our health service - as experts in medicines, they can help people to manage their conditions and take some of the pressure off our GPs. That's why it makes complete sense to give them the ability to access patients' summary care records, where appropriate.

"So we're investing up to £7.5 million to give community pharmacists the training and tools they need to access a patient's summary care record. A pilot has already shown that as a result of this, as many as nine out of ten people can get the help they need from their pharmacist without having to be sent to another service. I encourage all community pharmacists to get involved and further improve the care we can give people in their communities."

A report of the findings from the pilot has been published today at  


Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established on April 1 2013 as an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB). It is England's trusted data source, delivering high quality information and IT systems to drive better patient services, care and outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 220 statistical publications annually; providing a range of specialist data services; managing informatics projects and programmes and developing and assuring national systems against appropriate contractual, clinical safety and information standards.
  2. The NHS Commissioning Board (NHS CB) was established on 1 October 2012 as an executive non-departmental public body. Since 1 April 2013, the NHS Commissioning Board has used the name NHS England for operational purposes.
  3. The Summary Care Record is used by healthcare professionals to support direct patient care. It is an extract of key patient data (medications, allergies and adverse reactions) from the GP record. Before healthcare staff can access the SCR they must gain explicit consent from the patient.
  4. HSCIC completed a Proof of Concept (POC) project in March 2015 which enabled 140 pharmacies across five geographical areas (West Yorkshire and Sheffield, Northamptonshire, Derbyshire and Somerset) to access SCR. These covered independent, multiple and supermarket pharmacy providers.
  5. For media enquires or interview requests please contact or telephone 0300 30 33 888. Please note the change to our media line number
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