All paper prescriptions will be ended next month in favour of an electronic one that will save the NHS £300m.
The new electronic prescription will replace the paper one doctors give out from November 18th 2019.
EPS (Electronic Prescription Service) will save the NHS time and money by reducing the amount of paper processing required by GPs, pharmacists and the NHS Business Services Authority.
Patients will see little or no change to the process of being prescribed medicines by their GP, or how they request and collect them from their community pharmacy.
Those without a nominated pharmacy still receive a paper copy of their prescription listing what has been prescribed, but this will also contain a barcode.
Pharmacy staff will then scan the barcode to download their electronic prescription from the secure NHS database – the NHS Spine.
EPS patients have the flexibility to choose or nomonate a pharmacy where their prescriptions will be sent electronically to their nominated dispenser.
Dr Ian Lowry, Director of Digital Medicines and Pharmacy at NHS Digital, said: “Every prescription that is sent electronically saves money for the NHS by increasing efficiency. The system is also safer and more secure, as prescriptions can’t be lost and clinicians can check their status online.
“Building upon the success of the existing service, this is a huge milestone to reach, and one which benefits patients, GPs, pharmacists and the NHS as a whole.”
Martin Kelsall, Director of Primary Care Services at the NHSBSA, said: “EPS has the potential to deliver significant benefits to patients while saving millions of pounds that could be re-invested in patient care. This is especially true for patients who get regular or repeat prescriptions, using Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD) – a process that allows regular medicines to be prescribed for suitable patients in batches of up to a year.
“Working collaboratively with NHS Digital, our EPS Support team has been working with primary care staff to maximise EPS use.
“As Phase 4 progresses, we’ll continue to work with prescribers and dispensers to support their use of EPS and eRD and promote best practice.”
Keith Ridge, the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, said: “This is another major development towards making NHS services more convenient for patients in the digital age, offering an efficient, effective and safe service that also saves the NHS money.”
(Source: NHS Digital)