The Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) is a paper-free process for giving patients their medication. Today, 93.1 per cent of practices and 98.7 per cent of pharmacies in England are live with EPS.
The benefits of EPS include:
- GPs and practice staff spend less time dealing with prescription queries
- patients experience a more efficient service
- patients don't have to visit their GP to collect repeat prescriptions
- there is no paper prescription to lose
In September 2018, 64 per cent of prescriptions were claimed using EPS. In the future, EPS will remove the need for most paper prescriptions.
EPS and Controlled Drugs
Controlled Drugs (CDs) are produced, stored, supplied and prescribed under tight controls to prevent them:
- being misused
- being obtained illegally
- causing harm
For example, quantities need to be written in numbers and words on prescriptions, and when you collect a schedule 2 CD, such as morphine or pethidine, your pharmacist will ask to see proof of your identity.
Until now, CDs have been beyond the scope of EPS. When patients have prescriptions for routine medication and CDs, they are split over two prescriptions. Some items will be on an EPS prescription, but the CDs require a paper prescription. These split prescriptions are challenging for patients, prescribers and dispensers.
Vision - first to go live
There's an update to EPS that enables CDs to be included on EPS prescriptions. It improves the experience for patients and streamlines processes for prescribers and dispensers. The update improves security too because patients can't lose their prescriptions for CDs.
Vision was the first GP system to pass through testing and assurance with NHS Digital and was also the first to go live with EPS for CDs. The first pilot site went live on 2nd October 2018.