News, Primary Care News

Wales to begin testing electronic prescription service in primary care

Live testing of a new electronic prescription service (EPS) is about to begin in Wales, which will see prescriptions sent electronically from a GP practice to a patient’s pharmacy of choice, negating the need for paper forms.

The transition from paper-based processes to a digital service is being described as an “exciting milestone” in the way prescriptions are issued in primary care across Wales, and is expected to benefit pharmacies, GP surgeries, patients and the wider environment – saving up to 40 million paper forms per year.

Upon completion, the EPS will be made available to patients across Wales but initially will undergo a testing phase at the Lakeside Medical Centre GP practice and Wellington Road community pharmacy in Rhyl to establish it meets “the necessary technical and safety requirements before wider roll out”.

The work forms part of the Digital Medicines Transformation Portfolio, which seeks to bring programmes and projects together that will deliver the benefits of a fully digital prescribing approach across all care settings in the region. It is hoped that the introduction of an EPS will make dispensing, reimbursement processes and prescribing safer and efficient for both patients and healthcare staff.

Chief pharmaceutical officer for Wales, Andrew Evans, commented on the programme: “The test work beginning shortly will help to ensure many more patients and clinicians see the benefits of EPS next year as the programme rolls out. It is critical that these changes are introduced carefully and safely, the move to live testing for EPS is a significant step for the programme.”

In July we covered the newly published digital and data strategy for health and social care in Wales which focuses on partnerships, new platforms and digital skills.

Elsewhere in Wales, a new digital platform from Public Health Wales has launched to provide data and tools for tackling health inequalities and a national digital systems usability survey has launched.

In a recent interview with Channel 3 Consulting, we discussed digital transformation, their past and present projects and their key thoughts on digital at scale.