London GP practices complete switch to electronic prescribing

Every GP practice in London is now using the NHS electronic prescribing service (EPS), in a move that officials say is helping to reduce workload and bureaucracy.

Prescriptions: all London practices adopt electronic scheme
Prescriptions: all London practices adopt electronic scheme

All 1,311 eligible GP practices in London have now switched to the EPS system, NHS Digital has confirmed. Just a handful of primary care providers in the capital - mainly those with only small numbers of registered patients - are ineligible and remain outside the scheme.

Across England, 93% of practices are using EPS according to NHS Digital, with nearly two thirds of all prescriptions in June this year dispensed via the electronic system.

In 2013, then health secretary Jeremy Hunt set a target for the NHS to go paperless by 2018 - but this was later shelved, and there is currently no target for full adoption of EPS across general practice.

Prescription costs

However, the NHS estimates that it has saved £130m over the past three years through electronic prescribing, with practices saving time on lost prescriptions and waits for GPs to sign them, and easier repeat prescribing.

East London GP Farzana Hussain 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.

'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.'

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