Health secretary, Matt Hancock, intends to accelerate the completion of the roll out of electronic prescribing, to move to a paperless service, reduce waiting times for patients and save up to £300 million, he has said. However, not all GP practices are yet using electronic prescribing, with 63 per cent of prescriptions in England sent electronically.
Mr Hancock tweeted: “I want to help make the NHS the best it can be, so today we’re changing the rules to drive forward electronic prescribing to help cut patients’ waiting times at GP surgeries & pharmacies & save the NHS up to £300m.”
He wants the NHS to become the most advanced healthcare system in the world. Electronic prescribing saves time and ensures taxpayers’ money is spent effectively, he said.
PSNC confirmed that most pharmacies were already up and running with the service. “With over 98% of community pharmacies in England capable of dispensing electronic prescriptions, the sector is ready to help prescribers switch more patients over to the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS).
"We are also keen to work with GPs to continue to increase uptake of the electronic Repeat Dispensing Service which would offer convenience for patients as well as helping to reduce practice workload.
"We look forward to continuing to work with Government and the NHS on the piloting of Phase 4 of EPS and the subsequent rollout which should help ensure best use is being made of this technology for the benefit of patients and the NHS.”
All GP practices in London have all made the switch to the electronic prescription service, said NHS Digital. A total of 1,311 eligible GP practices across the capital now use the service. The system is estimated to have saved the NHS £130 million over the last three years and paved the way for electronic repeat dispensing, said a statement.
Commenting on the achievement, Rohpharm Pharmacy’s Jignesh Patel said: “The electronic prescription service has been fantastic in releasing us from carrying out a lot of paperwork and having to store a big paper audit trail.”