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GP confusion over digital prescriptions

GP confusion over digital prescriptions

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One in three GPs fear they would lose control of repeat prescribing if electronic repeat dispensing is to be introduced, a survey shows.

Electronic repeat dispensing involves GPs digitally authorising bundles of repeat prescriptions, which are dispensed over time by the patient's nominated pharmacy.

Doctors.net.uk conducted an online survey of 1,006 GPs on behalf of NHS mail order pharmacy Pharmacy2U ahead of the second release of the Electronic Prescribing Service (EPS R2).

The surveyed showed one in five GPs are either not aware electronic repeat dispensing is due to be launched later this year or do not understand the service.

The remaining respondents showed more encouraging results – 71% of GPs surveyed said electronic repeat dispensing would be more convenient for the patient and 68% feel the introduction of the service would reduce their workload.

Currently, the average time spent processing repeat prescriptions is 39 minutes a day – 14 minutes a day are spent handling urgent, same-day repeat requests, says the survey.

Fifty-one percent of GPs surveyed felt these last-minute requests were an "irritant", and 17% said they often had to work late to handle them. 

"Fully electronic prescribing under EPS R2 has the potential to reduce administrative pressure on GPs and their practices," said Dr Julian Harrison, commercial director at Pharmacy2U.

"The research indicates a good initial acceptance from GPs – yet it seems there is still confusion about how the new system will work, and some concerns about loss of control in the area of repeat dispensing."

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