Posted on: 1 August 2023

CNWL Addictions has launched its electronic prescription service (EPS), making it the first service in the Trust – and the first addictions service nationally – to do so.

Already widespread in primary care, electronic prescriptions allow patients to collect medicines or essential supplies without having to hand in a paper prescription. You can find more information on EPSs here.

In short, it means that patients receiving acute or repeat prescriptions will no longer need to wait at the service for their prescriptions to be prepared, as these will be sent electronically to their nominated pharmacy.

EPS currently only applies to green single collection (instalment) prescriptions. We are currently unable to switch multiple instalment-controlled drug (blue FP10 MDA) prescriptions to EPS because this option is not yet available nationally.

Dr Jeffrey Fehler, CNWL’s Clinical Director for Addictions, is confident that electronic prescribing will benefit both staff and service users.

“EPS is an initiative that we were very keen to adopt in Addictions,” he said.  “It offers so many advantages for our patients and staff – I can’t think of a single disadvantage.

“Patients initiated on new medication, be that controlled drugs (such as methadone) or psychotropic medication (such as olanzapine), are able to leave the clinic, travel straight to their local pharmacy and by the time they arrive their medication is ready for collection.

“Additionally, patients cannot misplace electronic prescriptions – a common occurrence in the past. 

“We now can’t wait for NHS Digital to develop EPS functionality for blue prescriptions and will gladly pilot this as soon as it is launched.”

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CNWL is introducing EPS after a successful trial at ARC Hounslow last year. The team (pictured) were really positive about the change, feeding back that they felt well supported and that EPS has helped to speed up the overall prescription process.

Rosie Williams, ARC Hounslow Team Manager, said: “Having the Electronic Prescribing Medicines Administration (EPMA) team on-site at go-live was a great support the team, they provided ‘on the spot’ advice as well as a group training session, answering all our questions.

“The team have been really positive about the change - they now have a good understanding of the benefits of EPS and how this can speed up the prescription process.

“As a superuser, I’ve also been providing some mini training sessions with team members who need additional support. This seems to be working well and the team appreciate having a good number of superusers on site.”

Charlie Horner, EPMA Project Manager, was impressed by how receptive Addictions staff were to the changes.

“They provided helpful feedback as we tested the system functionalities,” he said. “And this will help us with future rollouts.

“The support from Addictions services, especially Jeffrey and Soyar Sherkat (Addictions Lead Pharmacist) was invaluable in getting the teams ready for engagement.

“The rollout was a success – the EPMA team together with superusers from services have continued to support teams ensuring a seamless transition to EPS.”