To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to prepare the pharmacy sector for (a) digital first pharmacy services and (b) other technological change.
The community pharmacy IT infrastructure is being modernised, enabling the integration of community pharmacies within the wider National Health Service. In 2016 the Quality Payments Scheme was introduced to align an element of payment to quality and to support integration. The scheme has led to a number of improvements including the roll out of NHS Mail to 11,411 pharmacies across England, enabling digital communication of patient information. Continued integration will support the delivery of digital services in future.
We have also made good progress to enhance the tools pharmacy professionals have at their disposal through programmes such as the Electronic Prescription Service and access to the Summary Care Record, which is now accessible in over 95% of pharmacies.