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Wales launches electronic prescribing service (EPS)

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Wellington Road Pharmacy becomes the first community pharmacy in the country to use the EPS

Wales launched the new electronic prescribing service (EPS) last week, with the country’s first electronic prescription sent and dispensed on 17 November.

The new service allows prescriptions to be sent digitally to a patient’s nominated pharmacy, thus eliminating the need for paper forms.

It is part of a wider plan to introduce digital medicines and e-prescribing in all hospitals and primary care in the country.

Wellington Road Pharmacy and Lakeside Medical Centre in Rhyl became the first community pharmacy and GP practice to use the EPS, which is expected to be rolled out across Wales in January 2024.

Speaking at the EPS launch in Rhyl, Eluned Morgan, minister for health and social services, said: “We are at the start of an exciting digital transformation that will completely change the way prescriptions are managed in primary care, streamlining a process that has not altered significantly in decades.”

Charlotte Smith, lead pharmacist at Wellington Road Pharmacy, spoke about the benefits of using EPS and said “it’s more convenient, secure and free.”

“It will allow us to track where the prescriptions are, whether they’re at the GP practice or the pharmacy,” she told the Pharmaceutical Journal.

Andrew Evans, chief pharmaceutical officer for Wales, expressed that “Digital innovation is key to improving the prescription service for patients and our hard-working pharmacists and GPs.”

In September 2021, the Welsh government first announced its plan to implement electronic prescribing across all healthcare settings within three to five years.

At the beginning of this year (January 2023), Morgan said that the first electronic prescriptions were expected to be sent from GP practices to dispensing pharmacies “in summer or early autumn 2023”.

Wales is the third country to introduce EPS, after England and Scotland, which both launched the service in 2009.

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