THE familiar prescription form will soon be a thing of the past.
The usual method of taking a doctor’s prescription slip into a pharmacy to collect medicine is set to change in favour of an electronic system.
Practices will now be able to electronically transfer a prescription to a dispenser chosen by the patient.
The Electronic Prescribing Service (EPS) will be tested by three GP practices next month. Most medical dispensers in the city have had the IT equipment installed.
From April, the Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (PCCG) will be buying in health services for the city.
At a board meeting, Katie Hovendean, director of professional and clinical development for the PCCG, said: ‘Most community pharmacies have invested to get the IT prescriptions.
‘This means GP surgeries can generate a prescription on the system.’
Kirklands Practice, in Copnor Road, Copnor, Derby Road Surgery, in Derby Road, North End, and the Osborne Road Practice, in Osborne Road, Southsea, will test the system next month.
If successful, other practices will then take on the EPS through summer and autumn this year. It will also be easier to collect repeat prescriptions, saving the patient a trip to their GP to get a form.
Councillor Peter Eddis, chairman of Portsmouth City Council’s health, overview and scrutiny panel, welcomed the move.
He said: ‘I fully support the initiative. It will benefit the patients, as it will save time having to wait for medicine.
‘It will hopefully save some money as you won’t need to print out prescriptions.
‘Nationally, we have seen stories about cases where people have altered the prescription to get more medicine.
‘I’m not saying that necessarily happens in Portsmouth, but at least it will reduce the risk of fraud.’
Under the EPS, doctors will be able to print out a ‘token’ for patients to have in some cases, but this would not count as a prescription.