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PSNC: All pharmacy staff must prepare for urgent care EPS roll-out

All pharmacy staff should prepare themselves for the roll-out of the electronic prescription service (EPS) across urgent care settings, contractors have been informed.

An EPS pilot will take place “for selected users” of Adastra – the clinical software used in “many urgent care settings” –“ shortly”, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) said yesterday (November 27).

Prescribers – which could include NHS 111, GP out-of-hours services and minor injuries units, among others – within the pilot sites will be able to use EPS to prescribe medicines in the same way as GP practices currently do, meaning any community pharmacy could potentially be selected by a participating patient to dispense their medicine.

If the pilot is successful, the “national deployment of EPS” will be authorised, so “more urgent and emergency care prescribers will be able to prescribe via EPS”, PSNC stressed.

C+D has asked NHS Digital to confirm the location of the pilot sites and the timeframe for the scheme, but had not received a response at the time of going to press.

How the pilot will work

The urgent care EPS pilot will use a “new type of one-off nomination” to send the prescription to the pharmacy the patient has selected, but it will not affect existing nominations, PSNC stressed.

“Prescribers will identify a pharmacy that is open and accessible for the patient,” the negotiator said.

However, prescribers will be asked to alert the pharmacy that an electric prescription is available to dispense, as the EPS alone cannot guarantee the pharmacy is made aware of the urgency of the prescription, has the medicine in stock, or has the ability to dispense it.

"Pharmacies that are open out of hours and that regularly receive paper prescriptions written by prescribers from urgent care providers may want to consider reviewing how frequently they download prescriptions from the central NHS spine, so that any prescriptions sent by urgent care services are downloaded promptly," PSNC added.

How will you prepare for the urgent care EPS roll-out?

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