Headlines: December 18th, 2000

Seven companies have been selected from the seventy who expressed interest, to take part in the trial of electronic prescriptions due to be launched in March 2001. The electronic transfer of prescriptions will allow GPs to e-mail prescriptions directly to the pharmacist and to the Prescription Pricing Authority.The aim is to introduce full-scale electronic prescriptions by 2004 and bring benefits for patients including fewer trips to the GP surgery to collect repeat prescriptions, and an end to illegible and incomplete prescriptions.

The Department of Health will fund the connection of pilot pharmacies and GP practices to the National Health Service’s own secure intranet as well as costs at the Prescription Pricing Authority. No decision has been made on how roll out will be funded.

Pilots will run for at least six months and five universities have been invited to tender for evaluating the trial.