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GP practices prescribe controlled drugs electronically in NHS Digital pilot

A small number of GP practices have been selected to electronically prescribe controlled drugs (CDs) as part of an NHS Digital pilot scheme.
A total of 10 practices, based in Yorkshire, the North West and London, and using the EMIS Health and Vision systems, started the pilot on 2 October.
They are now able to prescribe drugs such as morphine and tramadol that were previously not possible to send through the electronic prescription service (EPS).
NHS Digital's website said that ‘following successful testing, the functionality to prescribe Schedule 2 and 3 CDs by EPS will be deployed to all Vision and Emis sites’.
Practices involved in the pilot have been asked to contact their local pharmacies to make them aware of the changes, the note added.

According to NHS Digital, issuing CD prescriptions electronically has a number of benefits for both patients and practices, including:

  • Patients’ prescriptions are directly sent to their designated practice
  • Sending CDs prescriptions electronically reduces admin work for both GP staff and pharmacies
  • Prescriptions are less likely to be lost or misplaced
  • Pharmacists can check everything that has been prescribed to a particular patient, which helps them make the right decisions when dispensing the drugs to that patient
  • The EPS system reduces the risk of errors

NHS Digital senior clinical lead for digital medicines and pharmacy Dr Vishen Ramkisson said: ‘We are delighted to be working with Vision and Emis to deliver this pilot which we hope will be rolled out further after the trial period.

‘It is another major milestone in implementing electronic prescriptions and helps to support patient safety by reducing the likelihood of errors and improving governance in the prescribing process.’

A version of this article was first published by Pulse's sister title Management in Practice

Readers' comments (4)

  • Seems very sensible. Paper scripts are probably the most hazardous option for patients on controlled drugs.

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  • Next step the telephone consult prescribes Gabas and opiates electronically without seeing the patient and the are delivered directly to their door via a courier.Mmm can’t see any issue in that,let’s we what’s the commenest cause of death in the USA in the under 40s at the moment.

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  • This should have been done ages ago. Why would you treat CDs any differently?

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  • What about SystmOne? Any chance the publication could reach out for a comment from NHSD or TPP?

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