Electronic prescription service expected across Wales this autumn
The electronic prescription service will be rolled out to pharmacies and GP surgeries across Wales from this autumn and possibly as early as the summer, the Welsh health minister Eluned Morgan has said.
In a written statement to the Welsh government, Ms Morgan said a pilot is expected to take place in the spring but insisted nationwide implementation of the EPS will need private sector companies that provide GP and community pharmacy IT systems to commit themselves to developing the software.
“Some IT systems will be ready before others – the rollout will therefore be planned and delivered in phases,” she said.
Ms Morgan also said the government was trying to encourage community pharmacy IT system providers “to minimise the use of paper, optimise processes and enhance the service provided to the public.”
That, she said, included tracking prescription requests so patients know when the pharmacy has received their prescriptions and when they are ready to be collected.
A nationwide rollout of the EPS is one of the developments being pushed forward under the Digital Medicines Transformation Portfolio (DMTP) which the Welsh government launched in September 2021.
Secondary care is also being digitised as part of the scheme, including hospital prescribing and medicine administration activities while prescription information on patients’ discharge from hospital and from outpatient departments to community pharmacies is being electronically transferred.
Ms Morgan said the all-Wales electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration multi-vendor procurement framework which allows NHS bodies to choose from a national approved list of interoperable systems is at the “pre-implementation stage.”
She said it will allow them to “digitise their prescribing and administration of medicines on every ward and outpatient settings in every hospital in Wales.” The first health board is expected to award a contract under the framework at the end of April and deployment is anticipated by the autumn.
The NHS Wales App is also being developed, with repeat prescription re-ordering and an option for patients to nominate a community pharmacy to receive prescriptions. It will allow patients to track the status of a prescription.
Finally, Morgan said the shared medicines record will be boosted by the development of a central repository where information on patients’ medicines will be stored.
“It will enable the seamless transfer of medicines information in real-time between primary and secondary care settings and between NHS organisations,” she said.