The NHS could save £300 million over the next 3 years as Phase 4 of the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) is rolled out across the country
The latest improvement to Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) – known as Phase 4 (1) – allows prescriptions to be sent electronically, saving the NHS time and money.
Roll-out of Phase 4 starts from 18th November 2019, beginning with GP practices using the TPP SystmOne system while implementation with other system supplies will continue into next year.
Patients will see little change to the process of receiving or requesting prescriptions and those without a nominated pharmacy will still receive a paper prescription. This paper version will contain a barcode for pharmacy staff to scan in order to download an electronic copy from the NHS Spine.
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 inpatient 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.”