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Health secretary plans to scrap 'archaic' paper scripts this year

NHS Digital: There will still be a need for paper prescriptions for controlled drugs and specials

The health secretary will relax regulations around the electronic prescription service (EPS) in an effort to scrap the use of “archaic” paper prescriptions this year.

Regulations which currently “limit the circumstances in which electronic prescriptions can be issued” will be amended “later this year” as part of the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DH) latest push to replace paper prescriptions with electronic ones, health secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday (August 26).

“In an NHS where thousands of GP surgeries already enjoy the benefits of electronic prescriptions, it can’t be right that there are occasions when archaic paper prescriptions still have to be used,” Mr Hancock stressed.

While there has been a growth in the use and availability of electronic prescribing by the majority of GP surgeries – up from less than 1% in June 2010 to 63% in June 2018 – “hundreds of GPs and pharmacies [are] still to make the move”, the DH said.

Under the amended regulations, patients will no longer have to nominate a pharmacy to collect their electronic prescription, the DH told C+D this morning (August 28).

Currently, patients using EPS need to nominate a pharmacy to collect their medicines from. However, with nearly all pharmacies now able to receive electronic prescriptions, this restriction can be removed, it added.

EPS “tokens”

Once the regulations are changed, patients who have not nominated a pharmacy will be given a paper token with a barcode to present at any pharmacy in England, which can be scanned to download the prescription, NHS Digital explained.

“In [the next] phase of the EPS project, all prescriptions will be electronic,” NHS Digital added.

However, “there will be a need for paper prescriptions for come controlled drugs or specials”, it said.

“We continue to work with clinical system suppliers to develop this capability. When testing an assurance is complete, we will pilot the functionality in a few pilot sites,” NHS Digital told C+D.

NHS Digital told C+D today that it is unable to confirm when these pilots will be launched, but “once the regulations come into force, we will be able to agree a date with the sites”.

20 Comments
Question: 
What do you make of the health secretary's announcement?

Sarwar Shah, Pre-reg Pharmacist

scrapping 'archaic' paper scripts to replace with a PAPER token, hmmm.....

We’re all doomed, Locum pharmacist

 

 

And there was I thinking the minister was going to be making a keynote announcement at the Pharmacy Show 2018 funded hand held tablets and/or robotic dispensing in all pharmacies. Absolutely clueless the chaos continues....

Other theatres include:

Keynote Theatre: Be involved in driving pharmacy towards a better future;

Pharmacy Technology Theatre: Embrace the Digital Revolution;

Primary Care Pharmacy Theatre: Learn how to integrate community pharmacy with GP;

Clinical Theatre: Hear from experts about major therapy areas with advanced clinical content; and

Public Health & Wellbeing Forum: Keep up-to-date with the public health agenda

 

 

Uma Patel, Community pharmacist

The aim of EPS was to get rid of paper scripts. Whilst there are advantages of EPS, the paper is still there. Instead of GP's printing the scripts, we have ended up doing it. GP's are delighted as they are saving thousands of pounds as they do not have to buy expensive toners and drums.

Uma Patel, Community pharmacist

The aim of EPS was to get rid of paper scripts. Whilst there are advantages of EPS, the paper is still there. Instead of GP's printing the scripts, we have ended up doing it. GP's are delighted as they are saving thousands of pounds as they do not have to buy expensive toners and drums.

Dave Downham, Manager

I agreed with you the first time.

charlene hill, Dispenser Manager/ Dispensing Assistant

What is the point of giving the Patient a token so they can take it to any pharmacy?!?
If the patient presents themself at a surgery the doctor should A, either send it to the pharmacy of patients choice or B. Give the patient a signed FP10. Giving the patient a token to present at a pharmacy does not actually save any money/time as the chosen pharmacy still needs to download that EPS prescription and then print it anyway? 

And ideally CD scripts should be able to come electronically as this will prevent CD scripts from becoming 'Lost' or 'Misplaced' and it is fully trackable where as FP10 CD's are not trackable in any way once they leave the surgery. 

The Health Secretary should spent a few weeks in a pharmacy and understand the logistics and the problems we face on a daily basis with prescriptions! 

Peter Sainsburys, Community pharmacist

Has anybody noticed that any time there is a change in community pharmacy, there is complete chaos? If they're still giving the patient a piece of paper anyway, what is the point? It just seems crazy to me.

EPS goes down on a regular basis, but guess what? It's the pharmacists who suffer, the doctors couldn't give a monkeys.

Charles Whitfield Bott, Pharmacist Director

EPS never goes down (the spine) its your rubish PRM system that has problems

 

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

Joan Richardson, Locum pharmacist

My thoughts exactly - if they need a piece of paper with a bar code then what is the difference.

 

Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

Great. So now, when ETP goes down, we are TOTALLY screwed instead of MOSTLY screwed.

Joan Richardson, Locum pharmacist

But ETP never goes down!   Prsecriptions never get stuck on the spine!   There goes my alarm clock I must have been dreaming!

Charles Whitfield Bott, Pharmacist Director

If everyone who thinks EPS goes down posts their PMR supplier then I think the cause will become obvious

Farhat Ahmed, Locum pharmacist

hahahahahahahahah, the health secretary is a comedian. How many times do prescriptions not come EPS because the locum doesn't have an electronic signature. The heath secretary needs to charge surgeries £10 for every paper prescription and then there might be some hope.

Matthew Auckland, Locum pharmacist

Glad to hear this but still don't understand why CDs still have to have quantities in words and figure in an electronic (secure???!!) message. Get THAT legislation changed and stop trying to work around it!!

Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Patients who have not nominated a pharmacy will be given a paper token with a barcode. Well that's fabulous and so high-tech to make us the envy of the world. Glad we are so ambitious. 

Paul Dishman, Pharmaceutical Adviser

He'll have to give the dispensing doctor practices a shove, they hate giving patients a choice

Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

It's nothing to do with choice and all to do with profits. 

We’re all doomed, Locum pharmacist

Spot on 2/75 surgeries still to go live locally both dispensing doctors. The government information freely available on items dispensed show they dispense 25000 items between them, who says resistance is futile!

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

Couldn't agree more!

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