TITAN has become the first PMR system to successfully deploy the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) in Wales. On 17th November 2023, patients at Wellington Road Pharmacy in Rhyl became the first in Wales to benefit from EPS.
The new service allows GPs to send prescriptions securely online to the patient’s choice of community pharmacy, without the need for a paper form, making the prescribing and dispensing of medicines for patients and healthcare professionals easier, safer and more efficient. For the first time Welsh GPs no longer need to physically print and then sign a green paper prescription form to hand to the patient or to be collected by the pharmacy from the surgery. Instead, they sign electronically and immediately send the prescription directly from the computer in the surgery to TITAN PMR in the patient’s pharmacy.
The launch of electronic prescriptions in Wales is the result of 20 months of work by the Digital Medicines Transformation Portfolio (DMTP), which has turned Welsh Government’s commitment to digitalise prescriptions into a reality. The service brings benefits to patients, GP surgeries, pharmacies and the environment, saving up to 40 million paper forms from being printed each year.
Prescriptions can be tracked from the surgery to the pharmacy and patients will no longer need to visit the surgery to pick up a repeat prescription form as it will be sent directly to their chosen pharmacy. It will also simplify the reimbursement process for community pharmacies.
Visiting the live test sites at Rhyl’s Lakeside Medical Centre and Wellington Road Pharmacy, Health and Social Services Minister, 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 changed in decades.
“Electronic prescriptions will make a huge difference to the NHS and patients and this 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.”
TITAN PMR system and EMIS GP system supplier are the first to get their systems ready to go live with EPS in Wales.Tariq Muhammad, CEO of Invatech Health Ltd said: “This is a really important milestone in our journey to support the advance of health services in Wales. We are so pleased to play our part in helping bring this technology to Wales and are looking forward to making this available to the whole of Wales to benefit patients, pharmacists, and doctors alike.”
Shafraz Mohideen, Lakeside Medical Centre Operations Manager, said, “We can already see that this is a game-changer. Our GPs will be able to prescribe medicines faster and more securely, giving them more time for patients. It will also help patients as they won’t need to visit the surgery to collect repeat prescriptions.”
Charlotte Smith, Lead Pharmacist at Wellington Road Pharmacy, said, “This is an exciting development and one we have been waiting for. It will make it so much easier for our patients and our staff as we can track the prescriptions with the new system and check their status online.”
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.
Fintan Grant, NHS England’s Deputy Director of Digital Delivery for Digital Medicines, said: “NHS England is proud to work with Digital Health and Care Wales to ensure the benefits of using the Electronic Prescription Service can be realised by patients and frontline NHS colleagues across Wales.
“The first go-live is always a major milestone and follows significant effort, ambition and will from a number of organisations, teams and third party suppliers. I congratulate all involved with this first step in the rollout.”
The work to deliver electronic prescriptions in Wales is complex and involves 16 suppliers of pharmacy and GP IT systems. Each supplier is required to modify their systems to be able to send and receive electronic prescriptions securely in Wales.
To support this and other innovations, DMTP partnered with Life Sciences Hub Wales and, on behalf of Welsh Government, established the Community Pharmacy System Innovation Fund to provide grants to suppliers of community pharmacy systems in Wales.
Cari-Anne Quinn, Chief Executive Officer, at Life Sciences Hub Wales, said: “It’s fantastic that electronic prescription services are now directly benefitting people in Wales thanks to ongoing work including the Community Pharmacy System Innovation Fund.
The new service is currently in a live testing phase, ahead of a phased roll out across Wales as quickly and safely as possible from January 2024. Pharmacies in Wales already using TITAN will be able to switch on EPS as soon as it is available and be ready to take nominations as soon as their local GPs are activated.