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NHS 24: New plans to help Scottish pharmacies process remote scripts

Scottish pharmacies will be sent emails containing patients' in-depth clinical information to help with remote prescribing, NHS 24 has announced.

NHS 24, Scotland’s national telehealth and telecare organisation, said community pharmacies will be sent an email containing a clinical assessment summary, with the patient’s prescription details included.

It follows an increase in the number of remote prescriptions being made by NHS 24 prescribers for patients who have called the 111 service.

To date, prescriptions have been telephoned-in to the caller’s preferred community pharmacy, “without any written confirmation of the prescription being received by the pharmacist until the prescription arrives within 72 hours,” NHS 24 said.

The new approach is designed to ensure that the pharmacist receives all relevant clinical information and context around the NHS 24 remote prescription request, and to help reduce the risk of errors.

NHS 24 said that in all cases, their prescribers will “still comply with the Human Medicines Regulations 2020, ensuring the original prescription is received by the community pharmacy within 72 hours.”

“Positive development”

In preparation for the changes, NHS 24 said each pharmacy will “shortly receive” an email with a read receipt request, to confirm their contact details are correct. A follow-up email will be sent a week later to any pharmacies that do not respond.

Pharmacies will receive further notification as to when the changes will go live and will receive “a sample email and report” for the new approach at the same time.

Dr John McAnaw, head of pharmacy at NHS 24 said in the statement that “NHS 24 hopes this will prove to be a positive development for community pharmacies across the country”, and lead to an improved patient journey for the public.

Matt Barclay, director of operations at Community Pharmacy Scotland, said: “NHS 24 were looking into new ways of working and improving systems for them to communicate with the pharmacy network. We are happy to support this new way of working given the increase in this route of prescribing as it should benefit all parties including ultimately the patient at the end of the journey.”

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