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Sixteen sites across England to pilot EPS 'tokens'

Exclusive
PSNC is asking pharmacists to share their experiences of the pilot – "both good and bad"

"Approximately” 16 GP practices will pilot electronic prescription service (EPS) “tokens” later in 2016, C+D has learned.

The sites have not yet been chosen, but will be “spread geographically across England”, a spokesperson for NHS Digital formerly the Health and Social Care Information Centre – told C+D last week (July 27).

Under the pilot, patients who have not nominated a pharmacy through EPS will be given a paper token with a barcode to present to any pharmacy in England. Pharmacists will need to scan the barcode to download the prescription.

Each GP pilot site will run for “approximately four months”, the spokesperson added.

A start date for the pilots is yet to be determined, but NHS Digital reiterated that “pharmacies that currently receive many prescriptions from one of the pilot practices will be provided with factsheets and animation videos to explain the process”.

Last month, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) said that “all pharmacy teams need to be ready” for the pilot, as patients can choose any pharmacy to collect their medicines from.

Testing the full rollout of EPS "tokens"

PSNC director of NHS services Alastair Buxton said the pilot will help community pharmacy and the NHS "test the move" to making EPS the default option for patients, before a national rollout is considered.

"The pilot is very important and we hope that pharmacy teams close to the pilot GP practices will be willing to participate fully in it, sharing their experiences and feedback, both good and bad," he said.

"If your local GP practice is taking part in the pilot, your pharmacy will be contacted directly by [NHS Digital] so that you and your team can receive additional support," he added.

Pharmacy teams nearest the GP practice pilots are “most likely to be impacted” by the testing of EPS "tokens", PSNC stressed.

Both PSNC and NHS Digital said they will provide pharmacies with further information about the pilot online and via direct mail. 

10 Comments
Question: 
What do you think about the latest EPS pilot?

Call Me Cycnical, Senior Management

This sounds like a great solution, smart end up the payment process, eliminates data entry errors, prevents scripts going missing. One serious issue with EPS, the managed care sector have no way of checking prescriptions prior them being dispensed in a pharmacy, this will give them visibility

Peter Lawrence, Primary care pharmacist

I thinks the old payment schedule stays the same. Nothing happens until the NHSBSA receives all the tokens with the exemption declarations.

From the NHSBSA website "There will be no change to the payment timescale with the introduction of Release 2 (i.e. 80% advance with the balance paid when the prescriptions have been priced). However, in the long term there will be increased efficiencies offered by EPS."

The quicker payment promised years ago doesn't seem to have happened.

Z ZZzzzz, Information Technology

Payment schedule will stay the same for a while because the expected saving from closing 7 pricing divisions and having EPS2 rolled out much earlier (end of 2008 ha ha) did not happen. 

A Hussain, Senior Management

Local surgery have 'opted out' of EPS for now.  They own a pharmacy and too many nominations were set for rival pharmacies it appears.  I wonder if they'll opt back in now if nominations become invalid?

Pillman Uk, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

PSNC state that pharmacies need to be ready for tokens, but if you're already dealing with EPSr2 then you're home and dry. A patient will just walk in with a token, rather than you printing the token (after an eps prescription has been sent for a nominated patient), so it shouldn't be totally alien to us.

Z ZZzzzz, Information Technology

Is there any imminent announcement expected with regards to EPS2 and CD2 and CD3 scripts.  Without that change there is no point to the trial and was supposed to be a so-called red-line before PSNC was going to agree to any such trials for phase 4.  A statement one way or the other should be forthcoming from PSNC don't you think.

Pillman Uk, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

System suppliers are working on a work around to allow the word and figures aspect to be transferred in the eps message.
So hopefully before 2018 as originally quoted

Leroy Jackson, Community pharmacist

I'll give 50 quid to anyone who can tell me what the difference is between giving out these tokens and handing the patient a prescription??!

Z ZZzzzz, Information Technology

With a token you will be paid via EPS.  With a script you will be paid when you submit your bundle.

Send the £50 to a charity of your choice.

Call Me Cycnical, Senior Management

Boom!

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