The first electronic prescription in Wales was sent and dispensed on 17 November 2023, launching the country’s new electronic prescribing service (EPS).
Wellington Road Pharmacy and Lakeside Medical Centre in Rhyl were the first community pharmacy and GP practice to use the EPS, which allows prescriptions to be sent digitally to a patient’s nominated pharmacy, eliminating the need for paper forms.
The service is planned to be rolled out across Wales from January 2024, and is part of a wider commitment to introduce digital medicines and e-prescribing in all hospitals and primary care in Wales.
In September 2021, the Welsh government announced that it aimed to deliver an EPS within three to five years, following England and Scotland, which both launched services in 2009.
In a statement published in January 2023, Eluned Morgan, minister for health and social services, said that the first electronic prescriptions were expected to be sent “in summer or early autumn 2023”.
Attending the EPS launch in Rhyl on 17 November 2023, Morgan said: “We are at the start of an exciting digital transformation that will completely change the way prescriptions are managed in primary care, streamlining a process that has not altered significantly in decades.”
Charlotte Smith, lead pharmacist at Wellington Road Pharmacy, said: “This is more convenient, it’s secure and it’s free. It will allow us to track where the prescriptions are, whether they’re at the GP practice or the pharmacy.”
Andrew Evans, chief pharmaceutical officer for Wales, said in a statement: “Digital innovation is key to improving the prescription service for patients and our hard-working pharmacists and GPs. This is transformational change that will have a significant impact on the way we work and introduce a real change to current processes.”
Elen Jones, director for Wales at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said the society was “delighted” to see the first prescriptions transferred electronically between a GP surgery and community pharmacy.
“This is the first step in a phased implementation process across Wales over the coming months and we are really looking forward to seeing the benefits realised for patients through a more streamlined process, with a robust audit trail and the potential to help ease workload on hard working community pharmacy and GP practice teams, ensuring a timely, safe prescription service for patients,” Jones added.