GP Connect: Update Record is currently being rolled out within prescribing systems, with pharmacy IT systems starting rollouts as they become ready.

As systems suppliers align with this, there will be lesser need to send consultation details from pharmacy to GP practice via NHSmail, for those service IT modules which have the feature added.

Pharmacy teams will be wanting to familiarize themselves with:

what Update Record is;
related top tips;
which services this applies to;
the knowledge that their CPCF IT supplier may contact them ahead of switching on the feature for them;
the pharmacy agreement in relation to use of GP Connect.

What is Update Record?

The Update Record feature allows community pharmacies to update patients’ records held by the GP practice with structured data. This solution enables the inclusion of relevant details from a community pharmacy consultation in patient’s record. The GP Connect IT messaging standard is used by both GP and pharmacy IT suppliers, to transfer this information in a structured format. This ensures that the GP practice can efficiently receive and review the consultation details. This structured data will be stored in the patient’s record as a provisional consultation, and a workflow task will be created for the GP practice. As a result, pharmacy teams’ process will be impacted, and there will be a reduction in the use of NHSmail for communication regarding such consultations.

Update Record was initially planned to be launched at the same time that the Pharmacy First service launched. The start date was adjusted to allow additional technical work and testing by suppliers and NHS England’s Transformation Directorate (NHSE’s TD).

Pharmacy teams will not experience any significant differences in their system. However, once their Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) IT system suppliers have integrated with Update Record, teams need to be aware that their systems will automatically send messages to GP practices in a format that allows GP practice teams to update the patient record with relevant consultation details easily. Pharmacy teams can also consider the top tips below.

Top tips

If Update Record cannot yet be used by your CPCF IT system and the GP practice system, then continue to use NHSmail.

Update Record is:

not intended to be used for sending clinically urgent, safeguarding or time-sensitive information. Pharmacy colleagues should continue to use their existing methods to contact practices in these situations; and
not intended to be used for including any information into Update Record that should not be viewed by the patient themselves or by clinicians in other care settings.

Note: Different GP System Suppliers manage the visibility of the messages in different ways. Some systems do not make the message visible to Summary Care Records (SCR) or through Patient Facing Services (including the NHS App) until the GP has ‘filed’ the messages, while for others, it is visible as soon as it has been submitted. 

Which services are covered?

Once pharmacy IT system suppliers enable Update Record for your pharmacy, Update Record will cover pharmacy consultations for Pharmacy First (minor illness and clinical pathways), the Hypertension Case-Finding Service (NHS Blood Pressure Check Service), and Pharmacy Contraception Service. Other consultations should continue to be sent through NHSmail.

IT suppliers should communicate to their users about which services have the feature added.


The four CPCF IT suppliers are preparing to begin rollouts.

Cegedim “Pharmacy Services”
EMIS Pinnacle “PharmOutcomes
Positive Solutions “HxConsult”

Cegedim is planning to do its rollout for its users from this week.

The continued rollout is dependent on testing and the monitoring of early implementation.

Pharmacy agreement to use GP Connect

Pharmacy owners have been able to confirm their usage of GP Connect via the Manage Your Service (MYS) system during the registration process to provide the Pharmacy First service.

This involved the pharmacy owner confirming acceptance of:

use for direct care;
sharing patient data relating to NHS services from the pharmacy to the NHS;
agreement to use the tool as appropriate;
completion of the annual Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPTK) within the completion period;
alignment with existing data protection legislation.

The patient privacy notice template from our data security templates webpage explains to patients that relevant clinical information may be shared with the NHS and other healthcare professionals as appropriate. This template can be used to cover the usage of GP Connect.

Commenting on the development, Community Pharmacy England’s IT Policy Manager, Dan Ah-Thion, said:
“We welcome this development which has been supported by Community Pharmacy England and Community Pharmacy IT Group.

The Pharmacy First consultation record should automatically send structured updates to the GP record. This should replace the burdensome process in which pharmacy teams and GP practices had needed to use NHSmail.

IT suppliers and NHS England must carefully monitor the technology during the early testing and rollout stages to check that it works as required. IT suppliers must also communicate to their users as they roll this out.”

Read more

GP Connect.

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