Patients are set to benefit from safer and more convenient prescriptions thanks to a £940,000 slice of national funding to help rollout state-of-the-art technology.
Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust (NLaG) is among one of 13 organisations to receive a share of £16million national funding from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to support the increased use of electronic prescribing and medicines administration (ePMA). It is the first step in the distribution of a £78million fund to help hospitals move away from using handwritten prescriptions over the next three years.
Dr Steven Griffin, NLaG’s director of digital strategy, said: “This is great news for our organisation as we can accelerate the introduction of electronic prescribing across our hospitals and community services.”
“What it essentially means is hand written prescriptions will become a thing of the past. It will put an end to staff trying to read the notoriously difficult poor doctors’ handwriting as it will all be done electronically.”
Simon Priestley, chief pharmacist, said: “Patient safety will be enhanced as electronic prescribing has been shown to reduce medication errors. This electronic system will provide support to prescribers when checking the appropriate doses of medicines and cross-checking for allergies and interactions with other medicines.”
“Essentially it takes out a lot of potential risks from prescription errors: this will include misreading of doctor’s handwriting, incorrect doses being administered and potential side effects from drugs interactions. It will also free time up for staff as we move away from paper-based systems.”
Health Minister Stephen Hammond said: “As part of the long-term plan for the NHS, we not only want to harness technology to make it one of the most advanced healthcare systems in the world, but crucially to improve patient care.”
Andrew Davies, director of hospital pharmacy for NHS Improvement, said: “There is evidence that electronic prescribing and medicines administration systems will improve the safety for patients, reducing the risk of harm, and ensuring high quality efficient patient care which is as safe as possible.
“I’m delighted so many trusts have submitted successful bids to accelerate the introduction of these systems to provide safer, better quality patient care. We are now looking for more trusts to bid for funding by the end of January.”
Dr Griffin added that implementation of the ePMA system would start in the spring of 2019 with the last ward going live scheduled for May 2021.