Electronic prescriptions reach one billion mark

The NHS has revealed that around one billion electronic prescriptions were dispensed in the last 12 months, making up the vast majority of prescriptions in England. 

Data on the use of the Electronic Prescription Service was released by the organisation to mark its 18th year with only one in 20 prescriptions being paper-based and 11,400 pharmacies now using the service. 

Chief Pharmacy and Medicines Information Officer for NHS England, Rahul Singal, said: ‘When you look at the number of transactions that are made via the service and how much it’s revolutionised practice in general practice and community pharmacy, we’d be pushed to think of another national system that’s had more success. 

‘Our next focus is to introduce EPS into more care settings, including more health settings such as hospital outpatient departments so the benefits can be realised for even more clinicians and patients across the NHS.’ 

Figures released by the body also show that the number of electronic prescriptions has almost doubled in the last five years with 996 million made in 2021/22 compared to 532 million in 2016/17. 

The first electronic prescription was sent from Ling House Medical Centre in Keighley, West Yorkshire in 2005 with a full national rollout occurring in 2019. 

Dr Rabani, a GP at Ling House, called the service a ‘game-changer’, he said: ‘Gone are the days of spending our lunch breaks signing reams of repeat prescriptions by hand. In terms of patient safety, if we change or cancel a prescription we can amend it in the system instead of phoning the pharmacy and making sure the paper slip is destroyed. 

‘And it’s been useful for my out-of-hours practice as well. I can look in the system to see the opening hours and addresses of pharmacies to help decide which is the most convenient one for my patient to send their prescription to.’ 

Services across the NHS are continuing to be digitised with a recent trial in Cornwall exploring the possibility of moving the NHS Health Check online and a series of upcoming webinars looking to educate health and care professionals on the cloud-based future of the organisation’s Spine network. 

Photo by NHS England

Featured image by National Cancer Institute


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