More community pharmacists in England will now be able to send electronic notifications to GP practices when a patient requests an urgent supply of medicines, NHS Digital has announced.

The notifications are now live on the pharmacy systems Pinnacle PharmOutcomes and Sonar Informatics, and the two largest GP systems – EMIS web and TPP SystmOne.

The new technology saves healthcare staff time by reducing the need for manual processing and follow-up requests for information, the NHS body said.

It added that the service will make patient information more accessible to the healthcare staff involved, which means patient records will be more up-to-date and practice teams will be better informed when making decisions about care.

Electronic notifications are currently being shared between pharmacy and GP practices when an urgent supply of medicine is made as part of the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS), and when pharmacies administer flu vaccinations.

Ian Lowry, director of medication, social care, child health and maternity at NHS Digital, said: ‘This latest stage in the rollout means that a number of GP practices and community pharmacies in England are able to benefit from electronic notifications rather than the current method of email or paper.

‘This saves time for both pharmacy and GP practice staff and supports integrated working between care settings when patients need to access essential medicines in an emergency.’

Dr Masood Nazir, Director of Digital Primary Care at NHSX, added: ‘The urgent supply of medicines should be as straightforward as possible for patients, GP practice and pharmacy staff, particularly during the pandemic and as we look towards winter.

‘By sending notifications electronically, we will make life easier for the staff at local pharmacies and family doctors and increase safety for patients, which is arguably more important than ever – this is why we have commissioned NHS Digital to accelerate this important work.’