The Electronic Prescription Service [EPS] is used throughout the UK, with both patients and GPs taking advantage of its convenience. Its implementation has already been a major step for the NHS, where this increasing reliance on technology has proved a resounding success.
The good news? There is further change up ahead, where ‘Phase Four’ of the NHS EPS Programme will soon be rolled-out:
What is Phase Four?
While the EPS currently accounts for around 64% of all prescriptions issued in England, the plan is for it to become completely universal. Phase Four will be the final step before this becomes a reality, where its viability is being tested on 15 GP surgeries in the UK. If successful, all GP practices will be switching to Electronic Prescriptions.
What Will Happen Next?
Nearly all prescriptions will be digital with the exception of 5%. That 5% may remain unsuitable for EPS as they may not be in the Dictionary of Medicines and Devices, which contains descriptions and codes for all medical items used across the NHS.
Patients who have yet to nominate a dispensary for their prescriptions will be given a paper token which contains a unique barcode which can be scanned by the pharmacist to retrieve the patient’s medication. This token will be scannable at any pharmacy.
Could There Be Problems?
Phase Four was announced back in 2016 but was postponed after experiencing setbacks. However, the step’s already taken towards making prescriptions digital have so far been successful, following the eradication of a few teething problems.
The benefits of the EPS are already proving positive, with the NHS experiencing a reduced administrative burden, saving costs and improving patient care. Patients also benefit from improved efficiency and convenience.
While it can be hard to keep up with the constant changes within the system, its clear that EPS and the goal to eradicate paper prescriptions are positive changes that should be eagerly awaited.
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