Cumbria CCG – Using DCR in pharmacies to improve safety and efficiency

Cumbria CCG are using the Medical Interoperability Gateway (MIG) to share patient information with community pharmacists.


With emergency care services and general practices (GPs) under growing pressure, Cumbria CCG have utilised community pharmacies as a way of supporting the local health economy.

Pharmacists across Cumbria have signed up to the Community Minor Ailment Scheme, which encourages patients with minor ailments to visit their local pharmacy for advice and treatment, instead of their GP.

Patients don’t need an appointment, which means they can receive an immediate consultation. They can visit their pharmacist multiple times about the same ailment and the GP is advised of the outcome of each consultation.

As part of the scheme, pharmacies in Barrow in Furness are using GP patient data to prescribe appropriate medication following assessment by a non-medical prescribing pharmacist instead of requiring a GP appointment.

The scheme has been running since May 2015 and is the first project in England to allow pharmacists to legally prescribe with full access to GP information.

How does it work?

The prescribing pharmacies in Barrow in Furness are using the Detailed Care Record and the Shared Record Viewer to access live GP records.

Being able to view patient data such as current and past medication, allergies and test results helps the pharmacist to make an informed decision at the point of care.

Pharmacists are experts in prevention and management of minor ailments and being able to prescribe appropriate medication helps to avoid referral appointments back to the GP.

How have they benefited from the MIG?

Feedback from patients has been extremely positive and the project has demonstrated the benefits of sharing GP information with community healthcare professionals.

Utilising community pharmacies for minor ailments has created additional resources for GP practices and emergency care services to treat patients with more complex care needs.

Hazel Smith, NHS Cumbria CCG’s Primary Care Development Lead said, “Enabling the pharmacist to link together with GP practices is a great step forward; improves the information available about the patient for everyone involved in their care and allows the pharmacist to prescribe medication safely and legally. Working together and sharing information has huge benefits for the patient and GP practices and is the way forward in the future.”

Gareth Jones, a Pharmacist at Murrays Pharmacy added, “The Community Minor Ailment Scheme has been a huge success here in Ormsgill and has proved very popular with patients. With the support of Murrays I have now been able to complete all the requirements and training of the Non-Medical Prescribing course and can access a patient’s record at their GP practice with their consent. I record the advice given and the products prescribed and this is sent direct to the GP practice so the patients record is updated. I can now supply a wider range of medication than the standard minor ailments service including those only available with a prescription once I have carried out a clinical assessment.”

The service has helped to prevent four A&E admissions, eight visits to out of hours services and 157 GP appointments.

Find out more

For more information and to receive a demonstration on how the MIG could support your organisation, call us on 0845 601 2642. You can also request a personalised quote.