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Independents' Day

All GP practices make switch to e-prescribing service in one area

Every eligible GP practice in London has switched to the electronic prescription service (EPS), NHS Digital has said.

All 1,311 eligible GP practices in London – excluding 18 practices with no permanently registered patients – no longer use paper prescriptions.

Outside of London, 93% of practices in England have adopted EPS, with 63% of prescriptions now dispensed electronically.

The EPS was first launched in Leeds in 2009, with an expansion pushing for GPs to make ‘nearly all’ prescriptions electronically announced in 2016.

According to NHS Digital, the health service has saved £130m in the past three years as a result of the service.

NHS Digital said using electronic rather than paper prescriptions saves GP practices ‘a significant amount of time’ by not having to find or reprint lost paper prescriptions or waiting for a GP to sign urgent paper prescriptions.

EPS also enables GPs to authorise a group of repeat prescriptions for up to 12 months.

Dr Farzana Hussain, a GP at The Project surgery in Plaistow, East London said the service saves time ‘as I no longer have to print off prescriptions’. 

He added: ’This also makes it easier for me to work remotely and send prescriptions when I’m not in the surgery.’

Anwar Hussain, practice manager at St Paul’s Way Medical Centre in East London said: 'Clinicians have the ability to review EPS on screen quicker and make the process more efficient. Reception staff no longer need to sort through prescriptions and paper that has gone missing.

‘Patients have more choice of where they can go and collect their prescription and can nominate up to three pharmacies.'

Keith Farrar, senior responsible owner for digital medicines at NHS England, said: ‘EPS supports the seamless flow of information about prescription needs for patients and reduces administrative time, freeing up resources for direct patient care.’

This story was first reported by Pulse’s sister title Management in Practice.

Readers' comments (2)

  • David Banner

    What about the controlled drugs (and, bizarrely, gaviscon) that have to be printed? Never understood the sense in EMIS sending the hypertensive meds electronically but printing out the tramadol.

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  • Yup - clearly not correct as CDs have toi be printed still

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