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NHSE upgrades clinical IT systems to streamline Pharmacy First referrals

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New IT feature enables seamless Pharmacy First referrals from general practices using EMIS Web Local Services or PharmRefer

NHS England has upgraded its clinical IT systems to streamline Pharmacy First referrals from general practices.

Starting on 18 June, clinical IT system suppliers have begun rolling out a new feature that enables Pharmacy First referrals from general practices using EMIS Web Local Services or PharmRefer to flow directly into the existing workflows in pharmacy clinical systems, according to Community Pharmacy England (CPE).

Pharmacies will receive these referrals in the same system workflow as those from NHS 111 telephony and 111 online.

Community pharmacy teams are not required to take any action to enable this new functionality, as it will be activated by the clinical system suppliers. The suppliers will inform their customers of the specific roll-out dates directly.

GP practices that do not use EMIS Web Local Services or PharmRefer will continue to make referrals via NHSmail.

The Community Pharmacy England (CPE) called it an important first step to implement the national Booking and Referral Standard (BaRS) which should streamline referral management, reduce burden and improve patient safety and experiences by simplifying the referral pathway from general practice into community pharmacy clinical systems.

It described this development as an important first step toward implementing the national Booking and Referral Standard (BaRS). This standard is expected to streamline referral management, reduce burden, and improve patient safety and experiences by simplifying the referral pathway from general practices to community pharmacy clinical systems.

Moreover, the implementation of BaRS will enable formal referrals, increase visibility of referrals, and ensure that referral information appears in the Pharmacy First IT system workflow, eliminating the need to copy and paste from emails or PDFs.

Over time, the BaRS IT standard will also allow a smoother flow of electronic referrals from community pharmacy IT systems to general practice systems.

Pharmacy teams are advised to continue monitoring NHSmail for all other types of referrals, as the CPE emphasises that “email remains a business continuity solution for Pharmacy First referrals from both GP practices and NHS 111 if the integrated referral method fails.”

 

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