PATIENTS in Gloucestershire are set to receive digital hospital prescriptions as part of a multi-million pound rollout, replacing “outdated” paper systems.
The technology will see Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the county’s two main hospitals, and mental health trust 2gether move away from handwritten prescriptions.
Under the Government proposals, the two trusts would receive nearly £2million, with £1.5million going to the hospitals trust – a share of £26million for the digital prescribing systems.
The Department for Health said the change would mean medication errors would be reduced by up to 30 per cent, and could save the NHS £300million by 2021. It is not clear when the roll-out will start.
The funding for the next year is the second wave from a £78 million pot to improve patient care by speeding up the implementation of electronic prescribing systems across the NHS over three years. Last year 13 other trusts received a share of £16 million.
In total 25 trusts across the country, including two in Gloucestershire, will receive the Government money.
Minister for Health Edward Argar said: “Electronic prescriptions in our hospitals will not only do away with old fashioned paper prescriptions but can help prevent avoidable and potentially catastrophic medication errors.
“As part of our Long-Term Plan for the NHS we’re committed to giving our hardworking staff access to modern systems which save them valuable time and makes every penny of taxpayers’ money count.”
“Following the previous funding announcement, I’m delighted to confirm the funding allocations for these 25 Trusts as part of our mission to upgrade NHS hospitals with modern technology so patients get the best and safest care possible.”
Matthew Gould, chief executive of NHSX, said: “Switching from paper prescriptions to digital in our hospitals will make mistakes less likely, free up staff time and ultimately improve patients’ care and health.
“This is part of the NHS Long Term Plan to support health service organisations to use digital technology to improve the care they can give patients, and allow staff to focus on delivering care, rather than on time-consuming processes.”
Patients will see little change to the way they are prescribed medicines by their GP, or how they request and collect them from pharmacies.
However, by increasing efficiencies, reducing the amount of paper processing required and reducing prescribing errors, this latest development will save the NHS £300 million a year by 2021.