Achievements 2019/20

Pharmacy standards in action

There are around 11-12,000 community pharmacies in England, and some 54,000 pharmacists in England, Scotland and Wales. While a large number of these professionals work in community pharmacy, around 15-20% work in hospitals, and a small number also work in other areas such as primary care, industry or within GP practices. As well as providing medications, pharmacists can  offer clinical support to help people get the most out of their medications, as well as other services such as vaccinations, disease screenings and device management. 

Last year we published the second stage of the pharmacy information standard, to support the transfer of information between community pharmacists and GPs. At the end of 2019, we saw this working in action, following an NHS Digital-led pilot of the standard in Leeds. Some 113 community pharmacies using PharmOutcomes and 83 GP practices using SystmOne were involved in the initial pilot, which has now been expanded across England.

Other suppliers will commence their rollout later this year, following similar pilot schemes. The first pilot focused on the flu vaccination section of the standard, with information about who had received vaccines being successfully shared back with GPs. Information around who has and hasn’t had a flu vaccination will be particularly crucial leading up to the winter months, as health professionals aim to maximise uptake of the flu vaccine so that fewer people experience flu and its complications in order to  reduce pressures on the system should we have a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The initiative is a valuable enhancement which helps ensure the information in patients’ medical records is comprehensive and up to date. Services which make it easier for health professionals to share critical information, such as about whether a vaccination has been given, enable them to provide the best care possible to patients.”

Vishen Ramkisson

GP and senior clinical lead at NHS Digital