The final phase of the NHS’ Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) roll-out is set to go live on November 18, beginning with GP practices using the TPP SystmOne system.

The national service announced that implementation will continue into next year with other system suppliers, while Clinical Commissioning Groups will manage the roll-out in their own areas with support from NHS Digital and the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA).

The latest improvement to EPS allows prescriptions for all patients to be sent using the more efficient system, not only for those who had chosen a regular ‘nominated’ dispenser.

Patients will see little or no change to the process of being prescribed medicines by their GP, or how they request and collect them from their community pharmacy. Those without a nominated pharmacy still receive a paper copy of their prescription listing what has been prescribed, but this will also contain a barcode.

Allegedly, the new prescription service will save the NHS £300 million by 2021.

Martin Kelsall, director of Primary Care Services at the NHSBSA, said that EPS has the potential to deliver “significant benefits to patients while saving millions of pounds that could be re-invested in patient care. This is especially true for patients who get regular or repeat prescriptions, using Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD) – a process that allows regular medicines to be prescribed for suitable patients in batches of up to a year.”

He continued, “Working collaboratively with NHS Digital, our EPS Support team has been working with primary care staff to maximise EPS use. As Phase 4 progresses, we’ll continue to work with prescribers and dispensers to support their use of EPS and eRD and promote best practice.”

The 32 million patients who already have a nominated pharmacy will still have their prescriptions sent electronically without needing a paper copy.