Layer 1

Dispenser ‘issue’ delays national rollout of controlled drugs via EPS

NHS Digital: 64 GP practices can now send schedule 2 and 3 drugs via the EPS
NHS Digital: 64 GP practices can now send schedule 2 and 3 drugs via the EPS

The national rollout of controlled drugs via the EPS is currently on hold until an “issue affecting some dispensers” is resolved, NHS Digital has said.

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.

What do you make of pregabalin and gabapentin becoming controlled drugs?

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

Why "Dispensers" I am not aware of anyone from emis etc who do any dispensing...why not "software companies"? Either they know nothing about it really or they are pushing the blame downhill ....again

Farhat Ahmed, Locum pharmacist

Am I missing something here, everyone one is writing about CD on EPS as if surgeries have managed to master sending all other items via EPS. There are so so many issues with other items being done on paper because they "can't be done EPS" which is the favourite phrase for receptionists who should really be saying "I don't rerally know how to go about sending this item via EPS & and there isn't  hope in hell of me ringing the IT department" or the other very well used phrase " we've got a locum Dr & they don't have an electronic signature". Lets not blubber on about just CD's as there are plenty of other issues.


C A, Community pharmacist

The problem is in plenty of cases Pharmacists/pharmacies/patients have been getting gabapentin/pregabalin on EPS for ages already, so this is a retrograde step

Andrew Paxton, Community pharmacist

The point of EPS-1 was to iron out any problems so that EPS-2 was easy to use...!

C A, Community pharmacist

Look how well that worked... they could have started figuring out CD EPS with R1...

Graham Turner, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Another calamity. What a shambles, but I guess that this is what we have come to expect as pharmacists.

Matthew Auckland, Locum pharmacist

Surely the real issue here is that we are still requiring quantity in words AND figures within a “SECURE” message. Either way, this is an issue that should have been dealt with during the EPS1 stage! Frustrating isn’t a strong enough word!

C A, Community pharmacist

You are right - the EPS message says give 56 of these tablets, but the paper script says give 560. I wonder what has happened here, hmmmm...

Andrew Paxton, Community pharmacist

You're right there!!

Leon The Apothecary, Student

They tend to have them both on there anyway, it also displays it in a non-alphanumeric data form as well, so you're perfect correct in that words and figures are very much extra. 

John Cleese, Production & Technical

What a shambles. Not having CDs over EPS by April 1st is bad enough, but who let Emis allow their systems to update almost 2 months early? Why couldn't they wait until April 1st? This is going to cause a lot of paper prescriptions to get left at GP reception desks, requiring manual collection, manual data entry, delays to patients, none of whom have the faintest idea of what is going on...

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I broke this to my blister pack team, and you can imagine the comments.

C A, Community pharmacist

You have a blister pack team?

Job of the week

Pharmacist Manager
Midlands, Cheshire & Dorset
Salary dependent upon experience