Eight community pharmacy system suppliers have been awarded grants to make the innovations needed to deliver an electronic prescription service in Wales that will help patients, GPs and pharmacies.
Positive Solutions, Apotec and Cegedim Healthcare Solutions are the latest companies to have received support from the Community Pharmacy System Innovation Fund (CPSIF) which was set up by the Digital Medicines Transformation Portfolio (DMTP) in partnership with Life Sciences Hub Wales (LSHW).
They join Pharmacy X, Titan PMR (Invatech), Egton Medical (EMIS), Camascope and Clanwilliam who were awarded grants in the first two rounds of funding applications.
The grants will help suppliers to develop their systems to use an electronic prescription service (EPS) and receive prescriptions digitally instead of on paper. It will also support the suppliers to introduce innovative changes to their systems that will result in paperless dispensing and integration with the new NHS Wales app when it is launched.
Jenny Pugh Jones, Senior Responsible Owner of the Primary Care Electronic Prescription Service programme within DMTP said:
“The latest awards mean that all pharmacy suppliers in Wales have been successful in their applications for funding to make the innovations required to roll out EPS across Wales or have made a firm commitment to develop their systems.
“This is fantastic progress and shows a real desire and commitment from suppliers to develop their systems to be EPS ready as soon as possible. “
The introduction of EPS across Wales is a key part of the Digital Medicines Transformation Portfolio and will make the process of prescribing and dispensing medicines safer, easier and more efficient for patients and health care professionals.
The first sites to use EPS were launched in November and the service is currently being tested with patients in Rhyl at Lakeside Medical Centre and Wellington Road Pharmacy.
It will be rolled out across Wales as safely and quickly as possible from early 2024.
The Community Pharmacy System Innovation Fund is available to suppliers of digital community pharmacy systems in Wales. The fund remains open for applications until October 2024, although the organisers reserve the right to close it early should all funding be assigned.
Led by Life Sciences Hub Wales, in partnership with the Digital Medicines Transformation Portfolio, on behalf of Welsh Government, the Fund offers three tiers to bid across:
- Tier One: To develop and implement the changes necessary to community pharmacy systems to enable EPS in a Wales-based pharmacy through an assured patient medication record. This tier must be completed successfully before suppliers can apply for tiers two and three funding.
- Tier Two: To allow for paperless processes in community pharmacies (notwithstanding the right of a patient to request a paper prescription if they wish).
- Tier Three: To be able to send push notifications to the NHS Wales App to advise that a person's medicines have been prepared and are ready for collection, along with the location of the pharmacy and its opening hours.
The Fund is open to applications from UK-registered businesses who currently supply, or have the potential to supply, pharmacies in Wales with digital services. Only activities associated with the aims explained in each tier are within the scope of the fund. Each tier is for a predefined maximum sum available, with up to 100% of this sum available for evidenced revenue costs for work related to the requirements of that tier. Successful applicants will receive up to £111,562.50 to develop their systems so pharmacies in Wales can use EPS.
Applicants should ensure their plans meet the eligibility criteria and scope outlined in the published guidance document, available on the Life Sciences Hub Wales website.
Cari-Anne Quinn, Chief Executive Officer, Life Sciences Hub Wales, said:
"This is a major milestone in the ambitious drive to create an electronic prescription service in Wales. We’d like to congratulate all the suppliers now on board and look forward to seeing continued progress towards our shared goal of making our pharmacy systems more efficient, easier to use and environmentally friendly for staff and the general public in Wales.
“Life Sciences Hub Wales is proud to have supported this mission through our management of the Community Pharmacy System Innovation Fund.”
To find out more about the Community Pharmacy System Innovation Fund and to apply for a grant, please visit the Life Sciences Hub Wales website.