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Real Time Exemption Checking (RTEC) is a technical service that automatically tells pharmacy systems when someone is exempt from paying for their prescriptions.

To highlight the benefits of this service for pharmacists and pharmacy contractors, Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has published a case study of David Broome, a pharmacist and pharmacy contractor from Leeds.

It outlines how RTEC helps his work and contributes to a more paperless process within the pharmacy.

The team at Stancliffe Pharmacy have been using RTEC since early 2019 and David’s overall view is: “In a busy pharmacy environment, RTEC has been a real asset for my team. It has saved us and our patients in dealing with copious amounts of paperwork, as well as reducing our printer ink costs and the likelihood of prescription switching. It has been invaluable. I’d recommend all contractors make the swap to RTEC as soon as they and their supplier can.”

According to him RTEC usage at the pharmacy has:

  • reduced the risks of inadvertently submitting EPS prescriptions with a paid status when the category should have been exempt;
  • enabled a vast reduction in the number of EPS tokens which have to be printed, completed by patients and then sent to the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA);
  • provided a more efficient digital process for pharmacy staff, reducing the time spent helping patients complete declarations, checking physical evidence of exemption status and sorting tokens for submission to the NHSBSA;
  • reduced the risks of patients misunderstanding their exemption status and inadvertently receiving a penalty notice as a result; and
  • increased convenience for patients, as there will be less need for them to provide physical proof of exemption from prescription charges and during the course of pandemic reduced infection control issues where handling mobile phones / documents.

The case study further adds that pharmacists and contractors should review training materials at the time of going live – including any system specific guidance, and look out for future RTEC enhancements, such as the inclusion of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) exemptions.

A small number of pharmacies are already piloting DWP exemptions including Stancliffe Pharmacy.

David’s case study also points out some areas of improvement in the RTEC, for example pharmacy contractors are still required to send some paper EPS tokens to the NHSBSA.

In his roles of vice chairman of the Community Pharmacy IT Group and a regional representative for PSNC, he is pushing to get the rules changed to reduce the amount of paper that pharmacies have to handle.

PSNC and the Community Pharmacy IT Group have asked pharmacists and pharmacy contractors to share their experiences of the journey towards paperless operations.

If you want to share your stories and/or experiences with us, please send an email to [email protected]