To help prepare for winter the roll out of EPS Phase 4, which allows electronic prescriptions to be used for patients without a pharmacy nomination, is being accelerated.
Phase 4 functionality will be enabled automatically for all TPP SystmOne and EMIS Web practices that use EPS (including dispensing practices) from September 7. EPS Phase 4 is not currently available in the Vision or Microtest systems.
Around 60 per cent of GP practices already have prescribing systems which can send Phase 4 prescriptions and NHS Digital is working to get other system suppliers live as soon as possible. As more practices go live with Phase 4 over the coming weeks, pharmacies should see the majority of hand-signed FP10s replaced by Phase 4 tokens.
For GPs, EPS 4 significantly reduces the need to hand sign prescriptions. Both pharmacies and GP practices will also be able to track the status of more prescriptions using the EPS Prescription Tracker.
However, NHS England & Improvement says that using EPS with a nomination is still the preferred and most efficient option, and GPs are being asked to continue to encourage their patients to nominate a pharmacy.
GP practices that use EMIS Web will soon be able to receive electronic notifications from pharmacies about the urgent supply of medicines made as part of the NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service.
The message will inform them that a patient registered with their practice has received an urgent supply of medicine from a community pharmacy.
The notifications arrive as a workflow task and include ‘structured’ information, which means the information can be added directly to a patient’s record. Since not all pharmacies are able to send electronic notifications yet, GPs will still need to check for notifications received via NHSmail or post.