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Wales hints at Spring launch of EPS

First electronic transfers in Autumn - but dispensing patient status is not clear

January 6th 2023

Tagged: DDA news Wales

By Ailsa Colquhoun

The first electronic prescriptions are expected to be sent from GP practices to pharmacies in Wales in the summer or early autumn 2023, the Welsh Government has announced.

In primary care, the system will be based on the electronic prescription service (EPS) already in operation in England for prescribing patients. A statement outlining the progress within the Welsh Government’s Digital Medicines Transformation Portfolio (DMTP) suggests that a technical proof of concept will be in situ in Spring 2023, with a rollout to GP surgeries and pharmacies as soon as possible after that.

EPS deployment in Wales will require private sector companies, which provide GP and community pharmacy IT systems, to undertake software development. Some IT systems will be ready before others – the rollout will therefore be planned and delivered in phases.

As dispensing practices in England will be aware, functionality to support the EPS for dispensing patients in England remains outside the core EPS platform remit. The DDA remains committed to lobbying for the development of this vital EPS functionality, and NHS funding for the technology investment.  Its position is that dispensing practices should not privately invest in EPS systems.

Other aspects of the DMTP include the following:

  • Digitisation of hospital prescribing and medicine administration activities and the electronic transfer of prescription information on discharge from hospital and from outpatient departments to community pharmacies
  • Patient access and the development of medicines related functionality in the NHS Wales App
  • Shared medicines record between primary and secondary care settings and between NHS organisations.