Sixty four GP practices across England can now send schedule 2 and 3 controlled drugs via the electronic prescription service (EPS), following a successful pilot in 2018, NHS Digital said yesterday (February 14).
However, while Cegedim’s Vision system and EMIS Web have both been approved for national rollout, “this is on hold until an issue affecting some dispensers has been resolved”, it said.
It would not tell C+D what this issue is or how long it expects the delay to be.
A pilot of GPs using one other system – TPP’s SystmOne – is expected to be completed “soon”, while software supplier Microtest is due to pilot sending controlled drugs via the EPS with its Evolution system in March, NHS Digital said.
NHS Digital has previously advised that as patients of these 64 practices can choose to have their EPS prescriptions dispensed anywhere in England, all pharmacies need to be aware they could receive an electronic prescription for controlled drugs.
PSNC: New guidance on gabapentin and pregabalin
NHS Digital confirmed that “if controlled drugs functionality is not rolled out before the reclassification of pregabalin and gabapentin” on April 1, electronic prescriptions for both drugs will revert to paper FP10s from that date.
The drugs – used to treat anxiety, nerve pain and epilepsy – will be placed in schedule 3 under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, but will be excluded from the requirement to be stored in a safe, the Home Office announced in October.
The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee has told pharmacies they may receive both EPS and paper prescriptions for gabapentin and pregabalin earlier than April.
All GP practices using EMIS are expected to have updated their systems by today (February 15) to revert pregabalin and gabapentin EPS scripts to paper.