NHS Digital will shortly begin trialling use of the electronic prescription service (EPS) by prescribers in urgent care settings.

The pilot will involve selected users of the Adastra system, the clinical software used in many urgent care settings. Care settings will include NHS 111, GP out-of-hours services, clinical assessment services (CAS), walk-in centres, minor injuries units and urgent care centres.

Prescribers within the pilot sites will be able to use EPS to prescribe medicines in the same way as EPS prescriptions are currently issued by GP practices.

As patients can get their prescriptions dispensed from any NHS community pharmacy, all pharmacy staff (including locums) are being encouraged to familiarise themselves with the details of the pilot.

Prescribers will identify a pharmacy that is open and accessible for the patient using similar processes to those used for paper FP10s. Since EPS is unable to guarantee the pharmacy will be aware of the urgency of the prescription or has the medication in stock, prescribers have been asked to ensure that the pharmacy is contacted to alert them that an electronic prescription is available for them to dispense, says PSNC.

The EPS system will use a new type of ‘one-off nomination’ to send the prescription to the pharmacy that the patient has selected. This will not affect existing nominations for the patient’s ‘regular’ prescriptions. The prescriptions will be downloaded by the contractor’s PMR system in the normal way.

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