Upsurge in the number of medicines being dispensed from electronic prescription


Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in England, there has been a significant upsurge in the number of medicines being dispensed from electronic prescription, revealed by the NHS Business Services Authority.

The data, published on June 1 this year, revealed that the number of items dispensed through electronic prescribing has increased by almost a quarter in March.

“Upsurge in the number of medicines being dispensed from electronic prescription.“

Furthermore, the data revealed a fourteen-point-five per cent increase in the number of items dispensed by community pharmacies, from eighty-one million, sixty-six thousand and twenty-seven in February 2020, in comparison to ninety-two million, eight hundred and forty thousand, three hundred and eight items in March 2020.

Also, seventy-eight million, three-hundred and twenty-five thousand, seven hundred and eighty-four items were dispensed through prescriptions issued through the electronic prescription service (EPS), which is a twenty-two per cent increase on the items distributed through the EPS in February.

Chief Executive of the Company Chemist’s Association, Malcolm Harrison, stated: “We’d now like to see our community pharmacy sector get fair funding from the government for its work on the front line of the NHS during the crisis. Community pharmacies have stayed open throughout the pandemic and have needed to pay more for the medicines they supply and cover extra COVID-19-specific costs, such as providing personal protective equipment and extra cleaning.”

Director of pharmacy funding, Pharmacy Services Negotiating Committee, Mike Dent, stated: “The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a surge in prescription numbers, meaning pharmacy teams had to focus on their core dispensing role to best support patients and the NHS. Whilst this left less time for the provision of other services, it should be noted that where agreed budgets for services such as MURs are not spent, the unused funding is distributed to contractors via other fees and allowances, so the funding is not lost to the sector. During negotiations on wider funding the PSNC has described a wide range of factors impacting on community pharmacy during the pandemic, including the reduction in income from services,”

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