Primary Care News

Electronic prescriptions set for national roll-out

The roll-out will start next month from 18th November, starting with GP practices using TPP SystmOne.

Known as Phase 4, the service allows prescriptions for all patients to be sent using a more efficient system and removing the paper process.

Following a successful pilot, it saw 329,000 prescriptions dispensed by more than 3,100 community pharmacies.

Implementation will continue into next year with other system suppliers, while Clinical Commissioning Groups will manage the roll-out in their own areas with support from NHS Digital and the NHSBSA.

Dr Ian Lowry, Director of Digital Medicines and Pharmacy at NHS Digital, said “Every prescription that is sent electronically saves money for the NHS by increasing efficiency. The system is also safer and more secure, as prescriptions can’t be lost and clinicians can check their status online.”

“Building upon the success of the existing service, this is a huge milestone to reach, and one which benefits patients, GPs, pharmacists and the NHS as a whole.”

Martin Kelsall, Director of Primary Care Services at the NHSBSA, said “EPS has the potential to deliver significant benefits to patients while saving millions of pounds that could be re-invested in patient care. This is especially true for patients who get regular or repeat prescriptions, using Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD) – a process that allows regular medicines to be prescribed for suitable patients in batches of up to a year.”

“Working collaboratively with NHS Digital, our EPS Support team has been working with primary care staff to maximise EPS use.”

“As Phase 4 progresses, we’ll continue to work with prescribers and dispensers to support their use of EPS and eRD and promote best practice.”

Keith Ridge, the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, said: “This is another major development towards making NHS services more convenient for patients in the digital age, offering an efficient, effective and safe service that also saves the NHS money.”