News, Primary Care News

NHS Digital rolling out Schedule 2 and 3 Controlled Drugs via EPS

NHS Digital has announced the roll out of schedule 2 and 3 Controlled Drugs (CDs) via the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) following a successful pilot process.

GP practices will be able to send all Schedule 2 & 3 CDs, except oral liquid methadone, electronically via EPS. Once a GP practice is able to send CDs via EPS, dispensers will no longer receive split prescriptions from them.

The roll-out will see an increase in prescriptions sent electronically and removing the previous paper process.

Dr Vishen Ramkisson, Senior Clinical Lead for Digital Medicines and Pharmacy at NHS Digital, said: “This will make a particular difference to those who need controlled drugs the most, such as those nearing end of life who use this medication to manage pain and control unpleasant symptoms. More efficient processes and fewer visits to drop-off paper prescriptions will help make sure these patients can be more comfortable. It will mean a better experience for patients and more efficient services for dispensers and prescribers. The pilot has completed with excellent results, making us confident to roll out the process nationally.”

Martin Bennett MBE, Chairman & Superintendent Pharmacist at Sheffield-based Associated Chemists (Wicker) Ltd, said: “Being able to receive prescriptions for controlled drugs electronically is a welcome improvement to the Electronic Prescription Service. It will speed up the process, reduce the potential of errors when prescriptions are hand written and make the dispensing of controlled drugs safer and more secure.”

Dr John Hampson, GP at Tower Family Healthcare in Tottington, 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 the introduction of controlled drugs has always been at the top of my list of improvements. This will really improve our prescribing process, making it more secure and much more efficient, not only for us but for our patients as well.

“We’ll have far fewer prescriptions split between paper and electronic which will make life easier for patients as they’ll be able to have everything sent electronically to their pharmacy.”