New fund opens for community pharmacy system innovation in Wales

The Life Sciences Hub Wales and Digital Health and Care Wales have launched a new fund to support suppliers of digital community pharmacy systems.

Forming part of the Digital Health and Care Wales digital medicines transformation portfolio the innovation fund aims to support health tech suppliers and NHS organisation deliver an electronic prescription service (EPS) and integrate with the NHS Wales app.

Just over £110,000 is available per supplier in total, across three areas:

  • To develop and implement the changes necessary to community pharmacy systems to enable EPS in a Wales-based pharmacy through an assured patient medication record.
  • To be able to send push notifications to the NHS Wales App to advise that a person’s medicines have been prepared and are ready for collection, along with the location of the pharmacy and its opening hours.
  • To help make community pharmacy dispensing paperless (notwithstanding the right of a patient to request a paper prescription if they wish).

It is hoped that the funding programme will “accelerate the delivery of this service improvement” and “help suppliers of community pharmacy systems to develop their systems to use EPS and receive the electronic transfer of prescriptions”.

Successful applicants will also be supported financially to deliver innovations that result in paperless dispensing and integration with the new NHS Wales app.

Hamish Laing, Digital Medicines Transformation Portfolio senior responsible officer, commented on the launch of the fund: “We are excited to be launching this fund which provides a crucial opportunity to support not just the technical changes needed to implement EPS in Wales but also improvements that will help modernise pharmacy practice and provide a much better service and experience for patients.”

Andrew Evans, chief pharmaceutical officer for Wales, added: “As we make progress to digitise prescriptions in primary care in Wales, we want to encourage community pharmacies to better utilise digital technology in their day-to-day work to create opportunities to work more efficiently, improving patients’ experience.

“The Community Pharmacy System Innovation Fund will help pharmacies and their IT systems to operate in a truly paperless way, able to digitally receive, process and track prescriptions, and notify patients when their prescription is ready, building on capability within the NHS Wales App. The fund is major step forward for community pharmacies in Wales and will help them realise the significant opportunities presented by digital ways of working.”

For more information visit the Life Sciences Hub Wales’ website.