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Electronic prescription service: the costs

In the last episode of our weekly feature, writer Rachel Mountain will talk us through the costs of EPS

Posted: 5 February 2016

If you’ve missed yesterday’s episode of our weekly feature about the benefits of EPS, click here.

The total budget from March 2004 for the EPS rollout until 2022 was £180,541,000, which incorporates all elements of local business change and adoption as well as the costs for the central build and services. Data released by the Department of Health has shown EPSR2, that had a total budget of £77.74 million, had a six per cent overspend in 2014/15. The report states the overspend is “partly due to the higher than predicted take up of EPSR2 by GP practices in the year and partly due to an anticipated increased spend on central staff”.

But notwithstanding any overspend the future looks bright for EPS.

Jefferson says: “The EPS programme is now in an extremely strong position to deliver on its objective to improve the safety and efficiency of patient care through electronic prescriptions.

“The programme faced a number of significant challenges during its early stages, but with almost all pharmacies now enabled to receive and dispense using EPS, and more than 70 per cent of GPs now enabled to create them, the volumes are growing consistently month-on-month with more than 30 per cent of all scripts now passing electronically.”

Habergham says: “We still have a big focus on ensuring all sites are live with EPS and they are using the service to obtain maximum efficiency and improve the patient experience.

“This key building block will ensure that we can move to a position where all prescribing and dispensing in primary care can be carried out electronically.”

Work, including a patient consultation, is underway to enable the roll-out with patient needs the top priority.

Dr Rafi is also positive: “We are also keen for GPs to be able to use EPS when prescribing controlled drugs as this will improve clinical safety as well as provide a full audit trail of controlled drug prescribing.

"The College has, and will continue to, input into and scrutinise the EPS system through the Joint GP IT Committee of the RCGP, BMA and national user groups, to ensure that the GP voice is heard and decisions on EPS are made in the best interests of our patients."

Join us next week as we'll be talking about dysphagia