The Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) has saved NHS England £130m over three years, according to NHS Digital.
Through using EPS, community pharmacies have saved time and better managed their stocks by instantly receiving electronic prescriptions from GP surgeries.
Pharmacists revealed they were able to save more than 90 minutes a day as a result of faster dispensing and fewer journeys to their GP practices to collect paper prescriptions, NHS Digital said.
Between 2013 and 2016, those dispensing drugs – including pharmacists – saved around £60m.
They reported on average saving nearly 79 minutes a day, as it takes 12 seconds less to type product details on EPS prescriptions and seven seconds less to issue labels for each item than paper versions.
Luvjit Kandula, chief officer of Leicestershire and Rutland Local Pharmaceutical Committee, said: ‘The benefits relating to EPS include a reduced impact on pharmacies in terms of the collecting prescriptions and helping to manage the workload more efficiently.
‘EPS allows more time to prepare prescriptions in advance particularly when electronic repeat dispensing is adopted.
‘As further work is being planned to improve uptake of EPS and repeat dispensing, this will further improve the patient experience and free up more time for clinicians to focus on medicines optimisation and service delivery.’
Pharmacist and patient satisfaction
Community pharmacies, such as Rohpharm Pharmacy in Plaistow, London, managed to cut down on administration tasks, reduce prescription losses and the risk of over supplying after using EPS.
A survey of patients using the system found that 72% had their medications ready and waiting for them at the pharmacy, while it took them on average 20 minutes less to collect these.
Denise Duffy, a patient from Sunderland, said: “My husband and I are on repeat prescriptions. When it is done via EPS, you come to the pharmacy and your prescription is there ready for you to pick up and you’re away.’
Pharmacies can calculate their EPS benefits here.