The NHS is pushing for GPs to make ‘nearly all’ prescriptions electronically as part of a drive to expand use of the Electronic Prescription Service, which will also look at electronically prescribing controlled drugs.
A pilot set to launch across 16 GP practices will test whether prescriptions can be electronically signed and sent by GPs using the EPS, without a patient having to first ‘nominate’ a pharmacist to collect it from.
The EPS is live in more than 80% of surgeries and about 43% of prescriptions since June have been made through the service.
The new model would just require a barcoded paper ‘token’ – matched to the GP’s electronic prescription – which the patient will use for collecting medications, in a move intended to ‘streamline’ the process.
A bulletin for GPs by the newly rebranded NHS Digital – formerly the Health and Social Care Information Centre – adds: ‘Separately, EPS will also be testing a way of allowing controlled drugs to be prescribed and dispensed using the system’ and this could launch in 2017.
The same bulletin also promises that an update of the NHS Mail system, due to roll out over the weekend of 13-14 August, will pave the way for NHS instant messaging.
Pulse understands the new features could be used by GPs and consultants quickly discuss referrals or other clinical issues with parties able to mark when they’re available at their desk or busy.