£16m to introduce digital prescribing in hospitals

16 hospitals across England will receive cash to introduce electronic prescribing solutions

  • Digital prescribing systems will replace outdated paper prescriptions, improving patient safety and reducing errors
  • The NHS is on course to eliminate paper prescribing in hospitals and achieve the NHS Long Term Plan commitment to introduce digital prescribing across the entire NHS by 2024

Electronic prescribing solutions save time and help to reduce errors

More patients and healthcare staff will benefit from single electronic hospital patient records as 16 trusts across England receive a share of nearly £16m to introduce e-prescribing technology.

These complete, single electronic records have helped improve patient safety across the NHS and save staff time.

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

Instead of relying on handwritten notes and paper medicine charts, staff can now quickly access potentially-lifesaving 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.

And 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 £7 m 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.

We believe that our ePMA project has been one of our most-successful implementations and was driven by the objective of clinical improvement

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 £1.6m in 2018, said: “We successfully implemented eMeds, our ePMA system, and this has revolutionised prescribing and improved medicines safety across the trust.

“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 three hospital sites in 10 months, against a planned implementation period of 24 months.

“And we believe that our ePMA project has been one of our most-successful implementations and was driven by the objective of clinical improvement.”

The trusts to receive the funding are:

  • University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust – £1.21m
  • Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust
  • Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust
  • Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • West London Mental Health NHS Trust
  • Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
  • Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust
  • Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust
  • Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust
  • Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Trust
  • Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Medway NHS Foundation Trust
  • Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust
  • Airedale NHS Foundation Trust
  • Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
  • Companies