Having called over a number of years for the Welsh Health Minister to roll out the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) in Wales, and to prioritise its introduction in North Wales, Vale of Clwyd MP Dr James Davies is encouraged that some patients in Rhyl are finally trialling the service.
Patients at Lakeside Medical Centre and Wellington Road Pharmacy are the first in Wales to experience the new service, which allows GPs to send prescriptions securely online to the patient’s choice of community pharmacy, without the need for a paper form.
Such a system was launched in England and Scotland the decade before last, having first been trialled in England over 18 years ago.
Therefore, whilst welcoming the introduction of EPS to Wales, James, who has worked as a doctor within the NHS since 2004, is frustrated that it has taken so long for Wales to get onboard.
“I am obviously very pleased that this service is finally available to some patients in Rhyl, and that it will be rolled out across Wales from January 2024. However, it is disappointing and incredibly frustrating that this has taken so long, and we know that the full rollout elsewhere is likely to take at least 12-18 months.
“Patients and NHS workers elsewhere in the UK have been benefitting from EPS for years. In November 2021, I wrote to the Welsh Health Minister to reiterate previous discussions, urging her “to adopt the tried, tested and refined EPS system in place in England as soon as possible.”
“When I wrote to her again in May last year, I said: “the fact that Wales continues to use paper prescriptions either picked up in person or sent via fax has caused many people considerable concern for some time.”
“I told her the lack of an EPS in Wales was one of many inefficiencies contributing to the current meltdown of the NHS in North Wales.
“As the Health Minister herself said when launching the new service in Rhyl earlier this month, “[it] will make a huge difference to the NHS and patients and is a major milestone in our journey towards digitising every prescription in every healthcare setting across Wales.”
“Given that she acknowledges the huge gains of having such a service in Wales, it begs the question of why it wasn’t introduced years ago, when Scotland and England introduced it. Sadly, this is yet another example of the Welsh Government lagging behind the rest of the UK and people suffering as a result.”