Wales welcomes electronic prescription service in ‘transformational’ move
Wales has introduced an Electronic Prescription Service in a move its government says will save up to 40 million paper forms from being printed each year.
The Welsh government announced the EPS launch on Friday November 17, with minister for health and social services Eluned Morgan visiting the Lakeside Medical Centre and Wellington Road Pharmacy in Rhyl, respectively the first GP surgery and community pharmacy to process an electronic script in Wales.
The Welsh government says moving to EPS – which will be phased in gradually across all pharmacies from January 2024 – will make prescribing and dispensing “easier, safer and more efficient,” and described it as “part of a wider commitment to introduce digital medicines and e-prescribing in all hospitals and primary care”.
EPS is now the default for the vast majority of all prescriptions in England, where the first electronic prescription was sent in 2005. Scotland and Northern Ireland have yet to roll out digital prescriptions across their pharmacy networks.
Ms Morgan said: “We are at the start of an exciting digital transformation that will completely change the way prescriptions are managed in primary care, streamlining a process that has not altered significantly in decades.
“Electronic prescriptions will make a huge difference to the NHS and patients and is a major milestone in our journey towards digitising every prescription in every healthcare setting across Wales.
“I would like to thank the staff at both the GP practice and pharmacy for their support as the first adopters of the Electronic Prescription Service technology and I hope we can explore how other primary care settings can use digital prescribing.”
Chief pharmaceutical officer Andrew Evans commented: “Digital innovation is key to improving the prescription service for patients and our hard-working pharmacists and GPs. This is transformational change that will have a significant impact on the way we work and introduce a real change to current processes.
“It is critical that these changes are introduced safely, which is why this live phase of testing is so important. I a grateful to the hardworking teams at both the GP practice and pharmacy who are the first to adopt digital prescriptions in primary care and to everyone involved in delivering this important work for people and primary care practitioners.”
Invatech Health CEO Tariq Muhammad said he was “hugely proud” that his company’s product, Titan PMR, “has become the first pharmacy system to have made EPS possible in Wales”. Invatech and PharmacyX were the two successful providers awarded government grants to develop an electronic service after a bidding process.