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National rollout of schedule 2 and 3 controlled drugs on EPS begins

Pharmacies in England should expect to receive an increase in electronic prescription service (EPS) scripts for controlled drugs as a national rollout begins, NHS Digital has said.

GP practices in England using either the TPP SystmOne or Vision systems will be able to send all schedule 2 and 3 controlled drugs electronically – with the exception of oral liquid methadone, where a paper FP10 prescription will still be required – by the end of March, NHS Digital said.

The rollout began last week (February 28), following a pilot across 64 GP practices in England, with “excellent results, making us confident to roll out the process nationally”, NHS Digital’s senior clinical lead for digital medicines and pharmacy Dr Vishen Ramkisson said.

Changes to the EPS will “mean a better experience for patients and more efficient services for dispensers and prescribers”, Mr Ramkisson said.

Rollout scheduled by CCG

The rollout will take “approximately” one-and-a-half-weeks to complete, and is scheduled by clinical commissioning group (CCG), NHS Digital explained.

Some GP practices using TPP SystmOne have been able to issue controlled drug scripts via the EPS since last week, while other practices using the system will be able to from March 7 or March 11.

Some GP practices using Vision will be able to send controlled drugs via the EPS from today (March 5).

"Working closely with EMIS"

NHS Digital told C+D that 41% of GP practices currently use TPP SystmOne or Vision. Software supplier Microtest is due to pilot sending controlled drug scripts via its Evolution EPS system later this month.

NHS Digital is working closely with EMIS to confirm a national rollout for GP practices using the EMIS Web system, and “more information will be issued shortly”, it said in an update last week.

Have you dispensed a schedule 2 or 3 controlled drug via the EPS?

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