NHS Digital has launched a pilot use of the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) in selected integrated urgent care settings. This will mean that patients seeking care out of hours or in urgent care settings can have their prescriptions sent directly to a pharmacy of their choice, rather than relying on paper prescriptions.
The service will free up time for doctors and other health care workers issuing prescriptions and for pharmacists dispensing those prescriptions, meaning there is more time for patient care. Patients can choose to have their prescriptions dispensed at any suitable community pharmacy. Pharmacists and their teams should be aware that they could receive an electronic prescription from an integrated urgent care prescriber involved in the pilot and that they can dispense it in the same way as any other EPS prescription.
A patient who requires nothing more than a short-term supply of an existing medication will no longer need to take up a face-to-face consultation with a clinician in urgent or emergency care.
The pilot has been given the green light after extensive systems testing by NHS Digital. It involves several prescribers in different integrated urgent care settings in the London area and will run until early in the new year.
Work is underway to finalise plans to roll out this service across all integrated urgent care settings starting in the new year, following a review of the pilot.
Initially, only sites running Advanced Adastra system (which accounts for the majority of integrated care settings) will have the necessary functionality. NHS Digital is working with other suppliers to develop this functionality in their systems.