Portrait photo of Mark Burdon.

Chairman of the PSNC’s Resource Development and Finance subcommittee, Mark Burdon, talks about the benefits of maximising EPS.

Hi, I’m Mark, an independent community pharmacy contractor and chairman of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee’s (PSNC) Resource Development and Finance subcommittee.

Thanks to the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) and NHS Digital, the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) enables prescriptions to be sent electronically from the GP practice to the pharmacy and then on to NHSBSA Prescription Services for payment. This saves time, makes information secure and most importantly it allows us to plan our workload better – doctors can now sign prescriptions electronically, so we receive them earlier from the GP, making the whole process a lot quicker.

 

We’ve had EPS for several years now

EPS is here to stay and over the last few years, it has grown rapidly. In order to streamline our processes in community pharmacy, we have looked to maximise our EPS prescriptions.

But what does this mean for me, as a pharmacist? As someone using EPS on the front line, here is what my team and I have learnt along the way so far…

 

Nominations and knowledge

  • We encourage all our patients to sign up for EPS nomination – particularly those that use the paper prescription collection service
  • We ask every patient that presents us with a green paper FP10 whether they’d like to set an EPS nomination. You can usually tell which patients aren’t nominated by the information in the top left-hand corner of the green FP10
  • We ensure that every single member of the pharmacy team knows and understands the EPS process. All staff should be able to collect nominations where appropriate. Knowledgeable staff are much better at explaining the benefits to patients.

 

Processing

  • EPS Release 2 has reduced data entry time for our team. Less time spent manually inputting information has helped automate the dispensing process, improving patient safety
  • We’ve been able to reduce our monthly batch preparation time with less sorting of paper FP10s. To help with this, we submit message claims on a regular basis rather than waiting until the end of the month. We think this is much more efficient
  • EPS Release 2 has helped us to spread out the workload and increased visibility along the workflow. Our GP practice colleagues are able to issue EPS more quickly than paper prescriptions that have to be signed
  • We’ve reduced the time that is spent physically going to GP practices to collect prescriptions, allowing us to spend more time adding value and spending time with patients.

 

Troubleshooting

  • Where there are issues, a good relationship with local GPs can help find you a resolution. Often, a simple change can make a big difference. We’ve found that GP practice managers and prescription clerks are the best port of call in most cases. For example, working with GP colleagues has helped improve the accuracy of prescription instructions. Sometimes extra care needs to be taken when inputting information onto their system and a quick chat with the practice manager works best
  • If you’re having technical problems with EPS, your system supplier should be the first port of call
  • Talking to colleagues nearby also helps, as you can share and learn from your experiences
  • The PSNC website contains lots of detailed information, including Q+As for common problems.

 

Networking

 

We’re all looking forward to getting more out of EPS. To anyone else starting out on their EPS journey – good luck!

If you have any questions on the above or would like any further information, please email the NHSBSA at nhsbsa.epssupport@nhs.net

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