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Rollout of Welsh electronic prescription service could begin this summer

The rollout of an electronic prescription service (EPS) in Wales could begin this summer,  health and social services minister Eluned Morgan has said.

GPs in Wales currently produce prescriptions digitally but have to print and sign hard copies to be fulfilled at the pharmacy.

But in a written statement published last week (January 5), Ms Morgan said the government had made “significant progress” across its “digital medicines transformation” programme.

She said: “In primary care, the programme team has progressed plans for the EPS, based on the platform developed by NHS England and is working towards a technical proof of concept in spring 2023, with a rollout to GP surgeries and pharmacies as soon as possible after that.”

She added that “some IT systems will be ready before others” so the rollout will be “planned and delivered in phases”.

“It is expected the first prescriptions will be sent electronically from GP practices to dispensing pharmacies in summer or early autumn 2023,” she said.

 

Public to track prescription requests

 

Ms Morgan’s statement added that the Welsh government is also “working with community pharmacy IT system providers to encourage them to minimise the use of paper, optimise processes and enhance the service provided to the public”.

This includes “tracking prescription requests, so people know when their prescription has been received by the pharmacy and when it is ready for collection”, she added.

And she said that “initial feature requirements” have been provided for development of the NHS Wales App, with the “first iteration of functionality…expected in the next few weeks”.

Initially this will include repeat prescription ordering, with later versions to include the ability to nominate a preferred community pharmacy to receive prescriptions and to track a prescription’s status, she added.

Previously, C+D reported that a “small number” of pharmacies in Wales would trial an EPS during the summer of 2023 with an aim to having EPS in all Welsh pharmacies over the next couple of years.

The Welsh government first unveiled plans that would allow pharmacies to directly receive prescriptions electronically from a prescriber in September 2021, following an independent review into ePrescribing in Wales earlier that year.

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