Nine in ten prescriptions now fulfilled electronically
Minister says paper options will remain available
Nine in ten prescriptions are now fulfilled via the NHS Electronic Prescription Service.
In October 2019, primary care minister Jo Churchill revealed government’s plan of “digitising the entire prescription service”. The following month, the electronic system – which at that point was already used to fulfil more than two-thirds of prescriptions – was extended to cover all GPs and pharmacies throughout England.
Since then, uptake has continued steadily, with 89% of prescriptions now sent via the digital service, as of January 2021. But Churchill added that the NHS remains committed to offering a paper option for those who are not able to use the electronic platform, which provides patients with a barcode that can be scanned on their smartphone.
“The government wants to enable as many prescriptions as possible to be sent electronically. However, paper prescriptions for those who require them will still be available,” the minister said. “In England, there has been an unprecedented growth in the use and availability of electronic prescriptions in primary care, and more is being done to expand their use.”
She added that work is ongoing to implement digital tools for use in areas beyond primary care.
“NHS Digital is looking to improve the current functionality of electronic prescribing and extend its use into other care settings,” Churchill said. “Expansion has been implemented in phases.”
The minister was answering a written parliamentary question from Labour MP for North Durham Kevan Jones.
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