HOW AN EPS COULD BENEFIT SERVICES AND SERVICE USERS , AND SUPPORT THE NHS GREEN AGENDA
Having an electronic prescription enhances safety and quality :
• It reduces the likelihood of prescribing or dispensing errors – The barcode on the prescription means it is read electronically , removing the need to interpret prescribers ’ handwriting . It also prevents fraudulent alterations .
– It minimises the risk of there being duplicate prescriptions . felt that there was a risk that any prescription that had a post-dated instruction in the body of the text could get dispensed as the only date on the electronic prescription was the date generated . Although we fully appreciated the reason for us being pulled from the pilot it was still disappointing for the service and the service users who had agreed to participate .
DIGITAL SERVICES CAN SUPPORT THE NHS NET ZERO AGENDA The NHS is now required by an amendment to the Health and Care Act 2022 to contribute towards compliance with the Climate Change Act 2008 . The NHS must therefore support the UK net zero emissions target , and in response to this commitment NHS England have published Delivering a ‘ net zero ’ National Health Service in which digital transformation is a requirement .
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT ? For a digitalised service to replicate the current model we need a system that allows the pharmacy to dispense and be remunerated for instalments and to allow for post-dating . The ideal EPS system would also take into consideration part-filled prescriptions as well as letting treatment service providers know when an instalment has not been dispensed . Currently these features are not available .
According to the online version of the NHS long term plan , EPS has been successfully implemented across primary care and is now used in 93 per cent of England ’ s 7,300 GP practices .
As substance misuse providers we all support the urgent need for an EPS for OST prescriptions . We can be assured that FP10MDA ( instalment ) prescriptions are on the digital road map , however there are a number of complexities which NHSX are looking to overcome in the coming years .
www . inclusion . org The NHS Addictions Provider Alliance : www . nhsapa . org
Linda Geddes is the pharmacist lead and Dr Georges Petitjean is the substance misuse medical lead for Inclusion , part of Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
• It simplifies the process thereby increasing efficiency – Services can be more reactive to short-notice pharmacy closures , speeding up the process for the service user . They would not have to wait for a prescription to be printed , signed and sent to the pharmacy .
– Prescribers sign the prescription electronically using their NHS ‘ smartcard ’, removing the requirement for a ‘ wet ’ signature as there is no paper prescription
– It allows for remote working so a prescription could be generated by another prescriber working elsewhere in the organisation . This removes the need for ‘ runners ’ who currently drive miles around services to get a new prescription .
• It saves healthcare costs – The online version of the NHS long term plan has already identified that EPS has saved the NHS £ 136m in three years ( 2013-2016 )
– Removing the need for paper prescriptions reduces the costs associated with :
› Manufacturer : Paper production , printing , transportation and security .
› Our services : Ordering , receipting and invoicing of controlled stationery ; storage of bulky prescriptions forms and the requirement to store them securely and fully account for them ; staff time conducting annual audits ( as a minimum requirement ) to ensure adequate security ; hidden costs associated with printer ink , staff time for printing , transportation – postage , delivery .
› When cancelling existing prescriptions consider the costs associated with shredding and disposal of confidential waste .
• Prescriptions cannot be lost – The electronic message is end-to-end encrypted – Authorised personnel can track prescriptions through the system .
This removes the time spent ringing the pharmacy or vice versa .
• Prescriptions can be sent for dispensing anywhere in England – It is useful for holiday prescriptions where you have concerns about security of medicines – EPS prescriptions generated in England cannot be processed in
Scotland or Wales
• Prescriptions can be cancelled – Up until they have been dispensed
• Prescriptions in the system are automatically cancelled when the Personal Demographics Service is updated with notification of death
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