Statistics and progress
Contains latest statistics, GP planned go-lives, future developments and more.
Latest statistics (21st April 2017)
6,814 (89.9%) GP practices live
11,685 (99.4%) Pharmacies live
105 (94.6%) Dispensing Appliance Contractors (DACs) live
485,374,194 Release 2 prescriptions sent to date
1,090,109,878 Items dispensed and claimed to date
23,265,916 Patients have a community pharmacy and/or a DAC nomination
66% estimated average live site usage in March 2017
59% estimated total prescriptions in England claimed by EPS Release 2 in March 2017
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GP Planned Go Lives, Live Sites and Utilisation
Nominations by dispenser
Download the number of nominations set by dispensing contractor [1.06Mb] (nominations totals at end of 21st April 2017)
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Future developments (updated March 2017)
Controlled drugs (March 2017)
Enabling Schedule 2 and 3 Controlled Drugs (CDs) to be prescribed and dispensed via EPS is getting closer.
Legislation made it legal for Schedule 2 and 3 CDs to be prescribed and dispensed via EPS Release 2 on 1 July 2015. The legislation requires the quantity of medication to be shown in words and figures.
Initially all system suppliers were required to update their systems to include both words and figures in the EPS message, but this would have taken until the end of 2018 to deliver.
NHS Digital proposed an alternative which means the quantity in words and figures will be presented in the 'message to dispenser' field of the prescription. This was approved and means that only prescribing system suppliers now need to update their systems.
Testing with the first prescribing supplier will begin soon. If the tests prove successful and once prescribing systems have been updated accordingly, it will be possible to send Schedule 2 and 3 CDs by EPS.
EPS Phase 4
EPS currently enables prescribers to send prescriptions electronically to a pharmacy of the patient's choice; their 'nominated' dispenser. Electronic prescriptions currently account for around half of all prescriptions issued in England.
In the future, EPS Phase 4 will become the default option for prescribing, dispensing and reimbursement of prescriptions in primary care in England. Paper prescriptions will continue to be available for special circumstances, but the vast majority of prescriptions will be processed electronically.
Patients without a nomination will be given a 'token' to present at a pharmacy to obtain their medication. This token will contain a unique barcode which can be scanned at any pharmacy to retrieve the medication details and dispense the medication.
It's expected that Phase 4 will increase the proportion of prescriptions sent electronically to around 90%. Some prescriptions may remain unsuitable for transmission by EPS, for example those where there are constraints on the prescribed drug.
NHS Digital intends piloting Phase 4 at a small number of GP practices across England. However, before the pilot can begin, the General Medical Services (GMS) Regulations must be amended to reflect the change to the role of a prescriber when all prescriptions are sent via EPS. This has delayed the start of the pilot. NHS Digital is working with the Department of Health and NHS England to make the necessary changes to the regulations and will promote details of the pilot when the dates for these changes become clear. However, the time needed to make these changes means that the pilot is unlikely to start in 2017.
In the meantime, NHS Digital is focussing on enhancing the existing service. Planned enhancements include the prescribing and dispensing of Schedule 2 & 3 Controlled Drugs, which will avoid the problems of split prescriptions and developing the EPS Prescription Tracker to provide business continuity support.