A fault with system supplier Cegedim has caused problems with the electronic prescription service (EPS) that is “stretching the goodwill” of GPs and patients to the limit after three days of disrupted usage.
The problem began on Monday morning (June 6) and prevented pharmacies from downloading prescriptions throughout the day. Contractors told C+D that the issues continued in some areas into Wednesday (June 8).
Pharmacists at Widnes Pharmacy in the north west of England said the disruption was "stretching goodwill to its limits".
Resorting to paper prescriptions
Leeds pharmacist David Hawkin told C+D that GPs were forced to use paper prescriptions and were “not happy about it”.
Kent contractor Amish Patel said his pharmacy had also resorted to paper prescriptions, which was “not ideal” for already over-pressured GP surgeries.
Amanda Smith, manager at Heath Pharmacy in Halifax, said the outage was “not acceptable” as many people rely on the Cegedim system. “Thank goodness we are in a position to get paper scripts quickly from local surgeries,” Ms Smith added.
Cegedim told pharmacists via an automated message on Wednesday that the system was working as expected, although the company said it is still working with one of its customers to resolve their residual errors.
Users may experience an "intermittent service" while its investigations are completed, it added.
Cegedim managing director Simon Driver told C+D yesterday that it “apologises to our customers for this disruption”.
Your Shout: How have you dealt with the EPS outages?
Chris Armstrong, community pharmacist
We have only been able to intermittently download EPS release 2 scripts all day on Tuesday. We have had to supply over 50 items as emergency supplies. This is the fifth time this has happened to us and each time we are told it will never happen again.
Gursaran Matharu, pharmacist
Totally unacceptable. I had to use summary care records and the EPS release 2 tracker to provide acute scripts and urgent repeats. But ultimately had to request paper FP10s from local GPs.
Clive Hodgson, community pharmacist
I still maintain that EPS release 2 is a fragile, flawed system. When it works it is sort of OK, but when it fails it is the community pharmacy who is left to sort the considerable mess out….at present with no compensation for the increased work.