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National rollout of schedule 2 and 3 controlled drugs on EPS begins

NHS Digital: National rollout follows a pilot across 64 GP practices in England last year
NHS Digital: National rollout follows a pilot across 64 GP practices in England last year

Pharmacies in England should expect to receive an increase in electronic prescription service (EPS) scripts for controlled drugs as a national rollout begins, NHS Digital has said.

GP practices in England using either the TPP SystmOne or Vision systems will be able to send all schedule 2 and 3 controlled drugs electronically – with the exception of oral liquid methadone, where a paper FP10 prescription will still be required – by the end of March, NHS Digital said.

The rollout began last week (February 28), following a pilot across 64 GP practices in England, with “excellent results, making us confident to roll out the process nationally”, NHS Digital’s senior clinical lead for digital medicines and pharmacy Dr Vishen Ramkisson said.

Changes to the EPS will “mean a better experience for patients and more efficient services for dispensers and prescribers”, Mr Ramkisson said.

Rollout scheduled by CCG

The rollout will take “approximately” one-and-a-half-weeks to complete, and is scheduled by clinical commissioning group (CCG), NHS Digital explained.

Some GP practices using TPP SystmOne have been able to issue controlled drug scripts via the EPS since last week, while other practices using the system will be able to from March 7 or March 11.

Some GP practices using Vision will be able to send controlled drugs via the EPS from today (March 5).

"Working closely with EMIS"

NHS Digital told C+D that 41% of GP practices currently use TPP SystmOne or Vision. Software supplier Microtest is due to pilot sending controlled drug scripts via its Evolution EPS system later this month.

NHS Digital is working closely with EMIS to confirm a national rollout for GP practices using the EMIS Web system, and “more information will be issued shortly”, it said in an update last week.

Have you dispensed a schedule 2 or 3 controlled drug via the EPS?

How High?, Community pharmacist

What would have been lovely was to have been told which bloody GPs were using which bloody system so we knew what to expect.

Throw in the early adoption of green scripts by EMIS for the new CDs and we are spending even more time playing hunt the thimble, with more complaints from customers that their meds are "missing".

Still, dunno why I thought it might be any different..........

Richard Dacombe, Dispenser Manager/ Dispensing Assistant

I'm in a ccg with 99% of surgeries who uses SystmOne. 

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Seen any of these fabled prescriptions yet?

Sam Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

I was 96% EPS and dropped to 94% as a result of EMIS implementing Gabapentin and Pregabalin early. Just dreaming of a day of 100%, real time access and no month end.

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

I don't understand why they didn't roll this out when EPS came out? All they had to do was change the expiration of the rx...


...but then why would the NHS use logic?

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Specifications really, and that ultimately comes down to the fact we use multiple PMR systems, both in surgery and pharmacy. One universal system would logistically the best thing in terms of upgrades and compatibility. 

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I'm curious to why Microtest and EMIS are so far behind the other two in rolling out this critical upgrade?

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