A new service launched today (Friday, November 17) makes the prescribing and dispensing of medicines for patients and healthcare professionals easier, safer and more efficient.
The new service will be gradually rolled out across Wales from January 2024, and is part of a wider commitment to introduce digital medicines and e-prescribing in all hospitals and primary care in Wales.
Patients in Rhyl are the first in Wales to benefit from a new electronic prescription service, which allows GPs to send prescriptions securely online to the patient’s choice of community pharmacy, without the need for a paper form.
For the first time, GPs no longer have to physically print, sign and hand a green paper prescription form to the patient or wait for it to be taken to the pharmacy. Instead, the prescription is sent electronically from the surgery via the IT system to the patient’s chosen pharmacy - even without the patient needing to visit the surgery to pick up a repeat prescription form.
As well as patient benefits, moving to electronic prescriptions will save up to 40 million paper forms from being printed and handled each year.
Visiting the first GP practice and community pharmacy to use electronic prescriptions, Rhyl’s Lakeside Medical Centre and Wellington Road Pharmacy, Minister for Health and Social Services Eluned Morgan MS 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.
“Electronic prescriptions will make a huge difference to the NHS and patients and is a major milestone in our journey towards digitising every prescription in every healthcare setting across Wales.”
“I would like to thank the staff at both the GP practice and pharmacy for their support as the first adopters of the Electronic Prescription Service technology and I hope we can explore how other primary care settings can use digital prescribing.”
Andrew Evans, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Wales, said:
“Digital innovation is key to improving the prescription service for patients and our hard-working pharmacists and GPs. This is transformational change that will have a significant impact on the way we work and introduce a real change to current processes. It is critical these changes are introduced safely, which is why this live phase of testing is so important. I am grateful to the hardworking teams at both the GP practice and pharmacy who are the first to adopt digital prescriptions in primary care and to everyone involved in delivering this important work for people and primary care practitioners across Wales.”
Professor Hamish Laing, Senior Responsible Owner for the Digital Medicines Transformation Portfolio, said:
“Today is a big achievement and a key milestone on our journey to digitalise prescriptions and medicines management in Wales. We have seen a real desire and commitment from GPs and community pharmacists to adopt this and from the software companies involved to make the necessary changes to their systems as soon as possible.
“The support from colleagues in NHS England and NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership has also made a major contribution, incorporating digital reimbursement to pharmacies and putting security measures in place.
“Our collaborative approach, placing people at the centre and working closely with clinicians, patients and industry suppliers ensures we are delivering a service that meets the needs of all who use it.”