Patients using unscheduled urgent care services across the south and east of England are set to benefit from a new electronic prescribing service.

Integrated Urgent Care provider and social enterprise, Integrated Care 24 (IC24) has rolled out to its services an electronic prescription solution it has developed by working closely with NHS Digital.

The Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) received national clinical safety approval on 29th March and launched on 3rd April.  It will be used across the organisation’s Integrated Urgent Care services including NHS 111, Clinical Assessment Services and face-to-face out of hours GP-led services in Kent, Sussex, Mid & South Essex and Norfolk & Waveney.

In 2018 clinicians at IC24 wrote over 224,000 prescriptions across its services, and electronic prescribing will make the process quicker, more efficient, and allow clinicians to spend more time treating patients.

The EPS provides patients with a better service by removing the need for paper prescriptions. This allows the clinician who is prescribing the medicine to send prescriptions electronically to a pharmacy of the patient’s choice.

As part of the service the patient will receive a free text message containing confirmation and the location of the pharmacy that has the prescription. This makes the process more efficient and convenient for patients and clinical teams.

Prior to roll-out a trial of the service took place, in which 800 items of different medications were dispensed.

It is hoped that use of the EPS in urgent care settings will provide quicker and easier processing of the patient’s prescription.

David Brown, Director of Digital Technology and Performance at IC24 said: ‘We have worked closely with NHS Digital on this project, innovating in a number of areas, and are excited to be fully rolling out this service. As recent finalists in the UK Social Enterprise Awards for our use of technology, I believe this is another great example of us collaboratively working with partners in developing technology solutions that not only enable us to work more efficiently but also - more importantly - provide a better and more seamless experience to our patients.’

Dr Vishen Ramkisson, senior clinical lead at NHS Digital, said: ‘Reducing pressures on out-of-hours services in the NHS has become a catalyst for change, resulting in new levels of digital innovation that will have profound benefit to patients, care providers and local pharmacies. Faster processing of prescriptions from NHS 111 and out of hours will enable those services to deal with more urgent cases or spend more time treating each patient. Patients who require nothing more than a short-term supply of an existing medication will no longer need a face-to-face consultation with a clinician.’

ENDS

About IC24

IC24 delivers a range of integrated urgent and unscheduled care services, including GP-led out-of-hours and NHS 111. With 25 years of experience, we are leaders in the sector, providing out-of-hours coverage for 2/3 of the week and NHS 111 coverage 24/7, to over 5.5 million patients. We operate in Kent, Brighton and Hove, East and West Sussex, Mid and South Essex, and Norfolk and Waveney, where our workforce of around 1,500 dedicated people provide care for our patients

www.IC24.org.uk