Every eligible GP practice in London has successfully made the switch to the electronic prescription service (EPS), NHS Digital has said.
All 1,311 eligible GP practices in London now use EPS, making paper prescriptions redundant.
Only 18 practices in London are not using EPS as they don’t have permanently registered patients, NHS Digital said.
The system allows GPs to send prescriptions electronically to a dispenser of the patient’s choice – who can be a pharmacist, for instance – saving hours of GPs’ and pharmacists’ time.
It has been adopted by 93% of practices in England, according to NHS Digital, which also estimates that in June this year, as many as 62.5% of prescriptions were dispensed via EPS.
Saving NHS money and time
Thanks to EPS, which was first launched in Leeds in July 2009, the health service has saved around £130m in the past three years, NHS Digital said.
The system also saves patients’ time, as they no longer need to pick up or request repeat prescriptions from their GP surgery, allowing practice teams to dedicate their time to assessing and treating patients.
GP practices using the electronic system spend less time on prescriptions, as they might previously have wasted time finding or re-printing lost paper prescriptions or waiting for GP signoffs of urgent paper prescriptions.
NHS England senior responsible owner for digital medicines Keith Farrar said: ‘EPS supports the seamless flow of information about prescription needs for patients and reduces administrative time, freeing up resources for direct patient care.’
Professionals can also optimise their time using electronic repeat dispensing (ERD), an integral part of EPS that allows family doctors to authorise a group of repeat prescriptions for up to 12 months.
Anwar Hussain, practice manager at St Paul’s Way Medical Centre in East London said that the system has allowed his practice to reduce the workload generated by patients requesting and collecting individual prescriptions.
He added: ‘Clinicians have the ability to review EPS on screen quicker and make the process more efficient. Reception staff no longer need to sort through prescriptions and paper that has gone missing.
‘Patients have more choice of where they can go and collect their prescription and can nominate up to three pharmacies.’
Farzana Hussain, a GP at The Project surgery in Plaistow, East London said: ‘As a doctor it also saves me time as I no longer have to print off prescriptions. I can send them with just one click.
‘This also makes it easier for me to work remotely and send prescriptions when I’m not in the surgery.’