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Scottish e-scripts project delayed

Scotland's electronic transmission of prescriptions project may not be rolled out from April as planned, the Scottish Executive admitted last week.

The Scottish Executive told GPs, NHS Boards and pharmacists in a circular dated 20 February that the eAcute Medication Service functionality required for the project would be rolled out to GP practices from 'the beginning of April 2007 onwards'.

But a spokesperson for the Scottish Executive could not confirm this last week: 'We're not too specific on the launch date, but it's certainly this year.'

According to guidance published in February, eAMS functionality for GPs was meant to be rolled out over six to eight weeks from April, while pharmacy functionality was due to be tested from July and rolled out in September.

Under the electronic transmission of prescriptions project, patients will continue to receive paper prescriptions, but with barcodes printed on them.

Dr Stuart Scott, deputy chair of GPC Scotland and chair of the Scottish GPC's information management and technology team, said the long-term benefits of the project would come when digital signatures were introduced at a later stage.

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