CO-OPERATIVE Group Pharmacy has become the first major chain to install an Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) across its branch network – heralding the end of paper prescriptions written by GPs.
All 260 Co-operative Group Pharmacy branches in England are now connected to the network ready for the wider roll-out of EPS.
In addition, all 39 Scottish branches are connected to a similar system, eMAS (electronic minor ailments scheme).
EPS means pharmacists can get instant access to patients' prescription details from their GPs.
It ensures prescriptions are ready promptly when they visit their pharmacy and brings to an end potential problems with illegible and incomplete prescriptions.
Rather than patients taking pieces of paper to the pharmacy, the prescription details are relayed to the patients' chosen pharmacy automatically.
The Co-op Pharmacy branch in Keighley, West Yorkshire, was the first in the UK to introduce EPS when it tested the system, with doctors at a nearby health centre 12 months ago.
That proved a success and since then EPS has been implemented at other pharmacies and doctors' surgeries.
"Our experiences at Keighley and elsewhere have already shown how EPS will benefit patients, pharmacists and GPs," said Neil Braithwaite, Co-operative Group Pharmacy's General Manager.
"I'm delighted we've now been able to install this system in all of our branches, and we're now ready for the wider implementation of EPS in the future."
Co-operative Group Pharmacy has worked closely with software suppliers AAH to complete the installation, which has cost about £ 1.5 million.
Any additional branches acquired by the Co-operative Group will also be EPS-enabled.