A scheme that integrates the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) into urgent care settings is to be rolled out nationally following successful pilots in London and the East Midlands, NHS Digital has announced.

The scheme focuses on patients seeking care out-of-hours or from urgent care settings such as walk-in centres or NHS 111. Prescriptions for these patients can now be sent electronically to a pharmacy, removing the need for paper prescriptions.

NHS Digital claims this will speed up prescription processing, allowing healthcare workers such as doctors and pharmacists to spend more time focusing on patients. 

Initially, this service will be available to care settings running the Advanced Adastra system (this applies to most urgent care settings). NHS Digital says it is working with other suppliers to create an EPS functionality.

A ‘more efficient system’

Dr Vishen Ramkisson, senior clinical lead at NHS Digital, described the move as a “significant step in extending the benefits of digital prescribing, providing a faster, better and more efficient system for patients, doctors and pharmacists.“

Dr Ramkisson added: “A patient who requires nothing more than a short-term supply of an existing medication will no longer need a face to face consultation with a clinician.”

24 hour London pharmacy Zafash Limited took part in the trial in December. Director and superintendent pharmacist Zafar Khan said this helped the pharmacy reach more patients in urgent need of medication, adding: “As a 24/7 pharmacy, we can dispense medication any time day or night. Doctors in the pilot have been able to see that we are open and where we are located, and then give patients the option to come to us to ensure they get the medication they need as soon as possible.

“By avoiding common delays due to faxing and emailing prescriptions, or patients having to drop off their paper prescriptions in person, dispensed medication has been ready for collection when patients arrive, saving them waiting time and inconvenience.”

Originally Published by Pharmacy Magazine

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