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Scottish Parliament committee 'astonished' by pharmacists' lack of access to patient information

A new report by the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee has highlighted that approach to IT was poor across the health and social care sector.

Pharmacist accessing patient records

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A new report by the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee has highlighted that approach to IT is poor across the health and social care sector

The Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee has said it was “astonished to learn about the lengths pharmacists have to go to to access vital, perhaps lifesaving, information”.

The statement was made in a new report, Technology and innovation in health and social care, summarising the evidence presented in the committee’s recent consultation into the use of digital technology across the health and social care sectors.

According to the report, much of the evidence heard in relation to emergency care “paints a sorry picture of the approach to IT that has been taken” across the health and social care sector.

“The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) of Scotland advised they can only access the emergency care summary through NHS24 and if they wish to access the portal to check a patient record they must have the patient’s permission.

“This is not always possible if a relative or carer collects the prescription,” it said. 

The Health and Sport Committee ran a call for views on the subject from 31 May 2017 to 12 July 2017, and held three oral evidence sessions in October and November 2017. Speaking at the second oral evidence session on 31 October, Aileen Bryson, RPS Scotland’s practice and policy lead, reminded the Committee that direct access to health records had been promised since 2014 but had yet to materialise. This, she said, was putting patients — particularly those presenting during out-of-hours services — at risk.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 20204402

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