£16 million to introduce digital prescribing in hospitals

Sixteen hospitals across England will receive a share of nearly £16 million to introduce electronic prescriptions.

More patients and healthcare staff will benefit from single electronic hospital patient records as 16 Trusts across England receive a share of nearly £16 million to introduce e-prescribing. These complete, single electronic records have helped improve patient safety across the NHS and save staff time, which they can spend on patients.

Instead of relying on handwritten notes and paper medicine charts, staff can now quickly access potentially life-saving information on prescribed medicines and patient history. This can also reduce medication errors by up to 30% when compared with the old paper systems.

Electronic prescribing systems have been shown to save time and money by reducing unnecessary bureaucracy. Investing in these systems will help to save money and increase productivity for the NHS overall.

Minister for Patient Safety, Nadine Dorries said: "We are determined to make the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world. The introduction of digital prescribing systems has helped us reduce potentially deadly medication errors and save our hard-working staff valuable time, enabling them to dedicate their full attention and care to patients. As we enter what is set to be a challenging winter, the best way we can continue to protect patients and staff is if we all work together and continue to follow the national restrictions to suppress the virus."

The funding is part of a £78 million investment to achieve the NHS Long Term Plan commitment to eliminate paper prescribing in hospitals and introduce digital prescribing across the entire NHS by 2024.

Since 2018, 216 NHS Trusts have received a share of this fund and the proportion of trusts with an electronic prescriptions and medicines administration (ePMA) system is expected to have risen from 19% in 2018 to more than 80% by March 2021.

Dr. Paul Curley, Deputy Medical Director and Chief Clinical Information Officer at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which received £1.6 million in 2018, said: "At The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust we successfully implemented eMeds, our ePMA system. eMeds has revolutionised prescribing and improved medicines safety across the trust, and a number of benefits have been realised including high staff satisfaction levels, greater visibility of prescriptions and reduced prescribing errors.

"We deployed eMeds at significant pace across 3 hospital sites in 10 months, against a planned implementation period of 24 months. We believe that our ePMA project has been one of our most successful implementations and was driven by the objective of clinical improvement. It was completed only months before the COVID-19 pandemic and so was hugely beneficial for our overall response."