GP practices across London have successfully made the switch to using the Electronic Prescription Service.

A total of 1,311 eligible GP practices across the capital now use the service that means patients’ prescription can be sent directly from their doctor’s surgery to their pharmacist – without the need for paper prescriptions.

The Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) aims to save GP practices, pharmacists and patients time and money every day through a more efficient and quicker system.

GP Practices save a significant amount of time by using electronic prescriptions rather than paper by not having to find or re-print lost paper prescriptions or waiting for a GP to sign urgent paper prescriptions.

The EPS system is estimated to have saved the NHS £130 million over the last three years.
It has also paved the way for electronic repeat dispensing (eRD) that can help health professionals optimise their time, by allowing prescribers to authorise a batch of prescriptions for regular medicines for up to 12 months with just one digital signature.
Patients don’t need to keep returning to their doctor’s surgery to pick up or request repeat prescriptions, GP practice teams can focus on assessing and treating patients and pharmacy professionals are able to support patients to manage their medicines.

Farzana Hussain, a GP at The Project surgery in Plaistow, East London, said: “I’m a big fan of EPS. I like it for several reasons, but the number one reason is patient benefits.
“I can now send a prescription straight away to a pharmacist, meaning that patients don’t need to pick it up from the surgery, making it more convenient for them.

“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.”

Jignesh Patel, a pharmacist at Rohpharm Pharmacy in Plaistow, said: “The Electronic Prescription Service has been fantastic in releasing us from carrying out a lot of paperwork and having to store a big paper audit trail as everything is now stored digitally.

“It is saving us a lot of time and, when GPs use electronic repeat dispensing, it can save themselves, patients and pharmacists even more time.”

Alastair Grenfell, Head of NHS Digital’s London Implementation and Business Change team, said: “Reaching every GP practice in London has been a significant challenge and I’m both pleased and proud of all those in the NHS Digital team and those in the wider NHS that have worked hard to achieve this fantastic result.”

Keith Farrar, Senior Responsible Owner for Digital Medicines at NHS England, said: “I am really pleased that this service is now available to all London GPs. EPS supports the seamless flow of information about prescription needs for patients and reduces administrative time, freeing up resources for direct patient care.

“This is a tremendous achievement from a great many people involved behind the scenes in improving the delivery of care to patients.”