Community Pharmacy Digital Group (CPDG)

Published on: 20th February 2018 | Updated on: 14th November 2022

The Community Pharmacy Digital Group (CPDG) helps inform Community Pharmacy IT Group’s (CP ITG) work with others.

The email discussion forum is a place for pharmacy staff, and Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC) members to share ideas about digital pharmacy matters using an email address.

Views can help inform the Community Pharmacy IT Group’s work with NHS Digital and pharmacy system suppliers.

You can sign-up now (see sign-up section below).


CPDG membership may include:

  • any pharmacy team members or LPC members that have an interest with IT and digital developments;
  • pharmacy system suppliers; and
  • CP ITG attendees are also included.


Community Pharmacy Digital Group also has early sight of new developments and technology and its views feed directly into CP ITG. The CPDG comes together virtually as a social networking email group.

Click on ‘sign-up’ further below to join.

Group's purpose

To gather views that can be captured and fed into CP ITG and those others involved with pharmacy digital developments.

Both CPDG and CP ITG focus on a number of workstream areas outlined below. The groups hope to encourage the community pharmacy sector to get more engaged with the many upcoming digital changes. CPDG continues to recruit new pharmacy team and LPC members and hopes you will join too.

The CPDG also is associated with some smaller sub-groups that include relevant people e.g. the Community Pharmacy Digital Local Health and Care Records (LHCRs) sub-group for those working within their area on LHCR issues.

See also: CPDG How to participate and Terms of Reference document How to participate and Terms of Reference document

Areas of interest

CPDG interests relate to any of the CP ITG’s workstream areas below, but you may choose just to comment on those areas that interest you.

Five workstream areas:

  1. Interoperability and security: Ensuring information about people’s health and care can be safely and securely accessed, wherever it is needed.
  2. Reducing burden: Use of digital to reduce the burden on pharmacy teams, so they can focus on patients, and appropriate infrastructure for the task.
  3. Good use of digital: Support the use of digital within pharmacy to improve health and care productivity, improve patient safety outcomes and improve cooperation between pharmacy teams and the health and care system.
  4. Patient tools: Support enabling patients to be able to choose digital tools to access medicines information and pharmacy services directly, so they can receive the best outcomes, recognising the need to also remain inclusive for all patients.
  5. Set out roadmap priorities: Development and promotion of a wider community pharmacy digital roadmap / vision.

Those five areas have some alignment with NHSX missions. The items within those areas are:

WS1a Supporting the development of interoperability/integration: This could be between different community pharmacy systems and between community pharmacy systems and other health and care record systems. This would necessitate community pharmacy systems supporting the recording of interventions/services in a coded manner (using SNOMED CT) with a clear aspiration for computable dose instructions across all systems including EPS and pharmacy systems. The group will also support the development; of electronic referral solutions, for referral into and from community pharmacy; and transfer of information passed from and to community pharmacy in a structured manner – ideally via clinical systems e.g. flu vaccine, emergency supply, New Medicines Service, Community Pharmacist Consultation Service notifications from pharmacy to GP systems, smoking cessation referrals from secondary care, interoperability with hospital systems for discharge information etc. The group supports pharmacy systems extracting anonymised information to support evaluation and further development of pharmacy services. The group will keep a watching brief on developments relating to Professional Record Standards Body and group participants may feed into Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB) pharmacy-related work. Relevant webpage(s) include: and
WS1b Supporting NHSmail: Work with NHS Digital, promote NHSmail use by contractors and seek to improve usability, e.g. NHSmail migration of individual accounts to new nomenclature and the use of email address aliases to provide a user-friendly email address for day-to-day use. Guidance will also give examples of how NHSmail can be used. Relevant webpage(s) include:
WS1c Supporting maintenance and demonstration of data security and information governance arrangements: Supporting the use of minimum hardware specifications and the development of the Data and Security Protection Toolkit for community pharmacy, NHS Digital training resources and developing guidance and resources for pharmacy teams on cyber security and information governance (including data protection laws and handling patient requests for access to their data). Relevant webpage(s) include:
WS1d Connectivity, business continuity arrangements and dealing with outages: This would include supporting the transition from N3 to Health and Social Care Network (HSCN), in terms of the sector starting to get the benefits of the new HSCN model. NHS Digital’s NHS Digital’s Internet First policy and other NHS and wider IT/digital/infrastructure developments will be considered, a watching brief being kept and implications for community pharmacy IT arrangements may be considered. Also ensuring the technical architecture of pharmacy connectivity does not prevent access to key NHS web-based resources, e.g. the Leeds Care Record. Pharmacy and system supplier input should be incorporated into HSCN migration plans. A standardised approach is required where there is a change by a pharmacy from one PMR system to another given there are clinical (including patient safety), ethical and legal risks related to the potential for data to be inappropriately transposed. Relevant webpage(s) include:; and
WS2a Support reduced burden through tackling issues related to the practical use of pharmacy IT and promoting good IT practices: E.g. tackling issues like frequency of forced password changes, use of alternative credentials (alternatives to Smartcards), multi-login options, for users and changes to support improved patient safety. Additionally, learning and promotion of good practices such as: less use of paper and more WiFi within pharmacies.  Relevant webpage(s) include:
WS3a Supporting the development of pharmacy systems: The group will help with consideration of pharmacy medication records (PMR) systems usability, interoperability for pharmacies and Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) and the five year framework. The work can support further work by the group with NHSX, NHS Digital, PMR system suppliers and contractors to develop a roadmap for development of PMR systems. The group should support PMR systems by helping to identify useful future development options – importantly to become increasingly patient-focussed and the group will maintain the list of commonly requested features. The group intends to keep a watching brief on potential regulatory changes that may impact pharmacy IT. Relevant webpage(s) include: 
WS3b Supporting EPS and its enhancements: The group are to support NHSX, NHSE&I, NHS Digital and others by continuing to develop and share their views on the next generation of EPS. Real-time exemption checking, support of Phase 4 roll-outs, improving the efficiency of eRD (electronic Repeat Dispensing) workflows in systems, development of standard descriptors across PMR systems for the different stages of a script’s EPS journey and other issues identified in the EPS optimisation log. Relevant webpage(s) include: and
WS3c Signposting to the Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Group (CPPSG): The group may signpost newly emerging patient safety items (with a digital aspect) for CPPSG’s consideration as/if needed. Relevant webpage(s) include: CPSSG
WS4a Consider the development of apps, wearables and technologies in healthcare: Consider the development of guidance and principles, where required, for new pharmacy and patient technologies covering, appropriate usage and security for data, promotion of all pharmacies equally within technologies etc. Support patient tools (NHS/pharmacy ones) which are usable, useful and inclusive. Support patient data standards being developed by PRSB and others. Support patients being able to choose to share information with health and care organisations such as their pharmacy (e.g. blood glucose levels) that is currently restricted to ‘silos’. User research which indicates patient expectations within this arena may also be considered to help the group’s wider work. Relevant webpage(s) include:
WS5a To support useful and usable IT beyond pharmacy PMR systems and EPS: The group will conduct further work to develop its vision which should align with its workstreams and the NHSX five missions. The roadmap should demonstrate the value to patients if the pharmacy digital vision is fulfilled. The digital roadmap should incorporate a wide range of feedback from the sector. The group will also seek pharmacy system supplier input and support as to those roadmap items which are more feasible within the nearer future for pharmacy systems. Relevant webpage(s) include:

Download or view a PDF version: CP ITG workstreams

Sign-up to join the email group CPDG (pharmacy)

You can sign-up by:

Emailing with ‘CPDG join request’ within the subject title and advising pharmac(ies)/organisation(s) you work within. Please also include your pharmacy ODS code(s) that apply. Applications are usually processed within several working days and you’ll receive an email confirmation once your application has been processed.

Trouble-shooting sign-up issues: If you experience difficulties signing up, please email Dan Ah-Thion, Community Pharmacy England’s Community Pharmacy IT Lead.


Q. I cannot see my emails relating to this group?

A. These may be arriving in your ‘junk’ or spam folder. You may wish to click onto the email within the spam folder and make a selection ‘not spam’ or similar so that the messages in future ought to go into your main inbox.

Q. How do I take part?

A. Once signed up, you can send email to the group’s email address and also receive the emails that the other members send to the group into you usual inbox. You might wish to share views/news or take part in mini polls that interest you. You can do all this from your regular email address even if you do not have Google Gmail email address.

Q. I am very busy. What is involved if I subscribe?

A. There is no minimum commitment. You can also unsubscribe later – see last FAQ.

Q. Who is the group for and what is the purpose?

A. The email group is mainly intended for pharmacy staff and LC members. The group will help gather some views for NHS Digital, PMR suppliers and others about pharmacy IT progress. It aims to be a positive, collaborative and group of people with an interest about IT within pharmacy or at their pharmacy. As of March 2018 more than 40 members had joined, and membership remains open.

Q. I cannot access the group forum page?

A. You do not need to access this, it is just a record of past messages. It is only accessible if your email address happens to be a gmail one.

Q. I’ve experienced technical /administrative issue with the group?

A. Please contact Community Pharmacy England’s Dan.

Can I unsubscribe later?

A. Yes. If you signed up but later wish to unsubscribe then use the unsubscription link included on each email (at the Google group homepage), or else contact Community Pharmacy England’s Dan to confirm unsubscription and we can unsubscribe you.



Further info

If you have queries on this webpage or you require more information please contact Sign-up info is set out within the sign-up section above.



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