NHS Digital has announced that its electronic prescription service (EPS) has helped the NHS save £130 million over three years.
The service allows GP surgeries to send prescriptions directly to pharmacies to save patients time and money when they collect their medication.
The EPS has been shown to have saved patients almost £75 million over the past three years and has enabled them to make less trips to pharmacies.
72% of patients using the system said their medications were ready for collection when they arrived at their pharmacy. The average prescription collection time was found to be around 20 minutes quicker using the EPS system.
The time savings that EPS offers allows staff to spend more time caring for patients, NHS Digital states.
The biggest savings of around £327 million were recorded by providers between 2013 and 2016, while dispensers saved nearly £60 million.
Compared to paper prescriptions GP practices saved an hour and 20 minutes every day by using electronic repeat prescriptions. By not having to locate paper prescriptions practices saved around 43 minutes every day.
Pharmacists are reported to be saving around 54 minutes a day due to faster dispensing under EPS and 43 minutes a day as a result of few trips to GP practices to collect paper prescription forms.
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.”
Denise Duffy, a patient from Sunderland, said: “My husband and I are on repeat prescriptions. The pharmacist gets the prescription from the doctor’s and it’s ready for us when we come here. 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. It’s really good and it cuts down on all those queues and waiting times. I’d recommend EPS to everyone.”