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

If the pilot is successful, EPS will be rolled out across urgent care settings nationally
If the pilot is successful, EPS will be rolled out across urgent care settings nationally

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?

PARESH shah, Community pharmacist

I do not think anybody cares about the pharmacy nominations as long as their work load is reduced. And the NHS wants 3000 of us to close anyway.

Andrew Paxton, Community pharmacist

I've just contacted the North-West 111 Service and was informed that they use Adastra and will be issuing EPS prescriptions shortly

Wolverine 001 , Pharmacist Director

More printing for us to be done!!! They should pay for the printer toners... which have to be original Borther parts and not cheap knock offs!

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

And they told us the system was going paperless! or is that paperless at the surgery and reams of the stuff at the hapless pharmacy. lol.


Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

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

Why? is it going to be vastly different to what we do now? " Oh Look! a Prescription thingy has appeared on that EPS screen.... The one with  all the other prescription thingies.. what do we do! "

ok so it wont be faxed over or a walk in fp10 but otherwise..


Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Sounds sensible but the devil is in the detail. Urgent care centres have to grasp the difference between a “new type of one-off nomination” and nomination. What happens if they make an error and select the wrong type? We are supposed to be having EPS where any patient can have their electronic Rx dispensed anywhere. Why not just wait for that?

Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

Surely the days of any GP refusing to use EPS for the issuing of prescriptions must be numbered

The benefits of EPS are, at the very least, that you have a clear audit trail from point of prescribing to point of submission for payment.

It all sounds good to me - providing the lights stay on!

A Long Serving Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

I work in 100 hour pharmacy open late at night and on Sundays. We get lots of faxed and handwritten prescriptions for emergency items and this will help speed things up and simplify the process immensely. However, until CD items are allowed on EPS it won't help a lot of our out of hours dispensing as a written form will still be required. 

Andrew Paxton, Community pharmacist

Since July 2015 it has been legal to issue all CD scripts  (Except instalment dispensed scripts, sadly) by EPS.  Unfortunately, the software suppliers have not kept up to date with this

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

Great news, EPS urgent care will save UC staff, chemists and patients a real headache. I work as an UC pharmacist prescribing for people who have ran out of meds and as a advance practitioner in walk in centres and this is well over due. At present the patient has to have the script faxed to a chemist or collect, will save everyone loads of hassel.

C A, Community pharmacist

How is it going to work if their regular pharmacy is closed? Is the nomination going to be changed to a 100hr pharmacy (if there is one locally?). We have enough trouble with this locally when 100hr pharmacies 'accidentally' sign up MDS patients etc. when they get faxed scripts...

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

Adastra has a separate facility from GPs software such as emis and the prescriber can select a pharmacy open out of hours subject to the patient nominating a pharmacy near to them. It will not directly have the same appointed pharmacy as the GP practice.

Adrian Tebby, Community pharmacist

Agreed Gerry, but surely it would have been better to desgin the system so that the issued prescription would sit on the spine?

The patient can then identify a pharmacy that is open and ask for that pharmacy to download the prescription / provide the token that the Out of Hours service has given them enabling download.



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