NHS Digital launches pilot for EPS Phase 4

NHS Digital has launched a pilot that could see more than 95% of GP prescriptions processed electronically.

Eight GP practices across England are piloting Phase 4 of the EPS this year, followed by further practices in 2019. If the pilot is successful, the new functionality will be made available to all GP practices in England.

Dr John Hampson, GP at Tower Family Healthcare in Bury, one of the first pilot sites and Clinical Lead for Information Technology at Bury CCG said: “I took part in the original EPS pilot and so it is fantastic to reach a point where it is available to all patients, even if they don’t use a regular pharmacy. This has really improved our prescribing process, making it more secure and much more efficient.

“It also allows me to save valuable time by not having to sign replacement prescriptions when they are lost or damaged. Because the prescription is signed digitally, a paper copy can be reprinted by any member of my team. This is more convenient and reassuring for my patients as they can get a replacement quickly and easily.”

Farhan Ali, Pharmacist Manager at LloydsPharmacy in Ramsbottom, one of the first community pharmacies to dispense a Phase 4 prescription, said: “The introduction of Phase 4 is a welcome development and the pilot has gone very well for us so far. We’re only a few days in and are already seeing the positive impact, both on the way our team works and on patient experience.”

“With more prescriptions going electronic, more are available to view on the EPS tracker. This means we can track and locate more prescriptions quickly and easily, without having to spend valuable time calling the surgery to query a prescription’s status or whereabouts.”

“We’ll also save time at the end of every month when my team spend hours collating, counting, processing and posting paper prescriptions. Fewer paper prescriptions means less admin work and more time made available for us as pharmacy professionals to spend on what’s important – treating and supporting patients.”