The Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) makes it easier for patients to obtain repeat prescriptions whilst improving the efficiency of local primary care services. Lambeth CCG wanted to improve the take-up of its EPS to above the 80 per cent national target in every surgery.

Dr Masterton and Partners medical practice in Streatham were consistently below this target and were finding it difficult to close the gap; the six medical and eleven administrative staff felt ‘dejected’ about this.

The practice had 60 per cent of its registered patients with at least one chronic illness, and 40 per cent of their repeat prescriptions were going to care home residents. This was not only a burden to the practice, it was also inconveniencing their patients.

We worked with the medical practice team to develop an achievable action plan. Key elements of this included:

  • Establishing and proving a process for the practice and local pharmacists
  • Training in EPS for GPs, backed up with time allocated for them to grow in confidence using the system and a limited number of prescriptions to process electronically
  • Giving the practice pharmacist leadership on the programme, and involving the local patient participation group – whose chair was one of the first to benefit from EPS
  • Facilitating close teamwork between the practice and local pharmacists, overcoming teething problems together
  • Planning and implementing a promotional campaign in February 2017, including information leaflets in the practice, staff giving guidance and pharmacy nomination forms to patients and practice outreach to local care homes

The practice’s medical team and the local pharmacists found the online service enabled patients to seamlessly nominate a pharmacy, whilst patients reported that the online service is easy to use and much more convenient for them.

EPS utilisation in Dr Masterton and Partners had been below 20 per cent from May to November 2016. This rose to more than 130 per cent in February 2017.