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With more than 60% of GP practices now live, the rollout of the electronic prescriptions service (EPS R2) is really gaining momentum across England.

The latest statistics from HSCIC (6 July 2015) are impressive. Not only are 97% of pharmacies now live too, but

112,142,691 Release 2 prescriptions have been sent to date
• 256,202,202 Items have been dispensed and claimed to date and
 13,945,763 patients have nominated a pharmacy to handle their repeat prescriptions

Want to join the majority of GP practices benefitting from electronic prescribing?


Five top tips to get you started

• Plan together as a practice
Electronic prescriptions will change the way your practice processes prescriptions. So it is worth planning ahead to ensure a smooth upgrade. Identify who has responsibility for EPS in your CCG and invite them to a practice meeting where the business process changes can be discussed.

• Be prepared
Contact your clinical IT system provider to ensure that your drug dictionary is up to date and that any modules or utilities required for EPS R2 have been installed and run. If you are able to identify any patients with non-EPS compatible authorised repeats and swap them in advance of your go live, this will reduce problems when you try to issue prescriptions electronically.

• Get smart for EPS
Updating the smart cards used by practice staff is vital in preparing for EPS. Decide now who needs to be able to do what with electronic prescriptions. Some staff will need to be able to cancel and amend prescriptions; others will only need to be able to print them out. Clinicians of course can perform all tasks, and only they can electronically sign. Smart cards need to be in use and updated before going live with EPS.

• Synchronise repeat medications
Ensure you have a standard practice policy on repeat prescription duration (eg 1, 2 or 3 months). It will help if patients receive similar durations of regular medication via the same repeat prescription. This can mean the difference between having to authorise multiple prescriptions and only one.

• Maximise nominations
Get as many patients as possible to nominate a pharmacy for their repeats. Devise a simple way of explaining EPS to patients, and enforce a practice policy. EPS R2 introduces new choices for your patients. They can choose any EPS R2-enabled pharmacy, anywhere in England to dispense their medication, including online pharmacies. It is important to explain to patients that, once nominated, all prescriptions will go to their chosen pharmacy unless they choose otherwise. They can change nominations whenever they wish, quickly and simply, either at a pharmacy or at the GP surgery. Consider providing a short explanatory letter about EPS once they have nominated.

Click here for more information about Pharmacy2U’s EPS R2-enabled NHS repeat prescriptions service.