Healthwatch Torbay’s Digital Project is well under way, and the latest pronouncement from on high makes it look more relevant than ever as it looks as though paper prescriptions will all but disappear.
The government has announced that regulations preventing GPs sending prescriptions to pharmacies digitally in some circumstances will be dropped – with the aim of saving the NHS £300m by 2021.
Matt Hancock, the health and social care secretary, said the move would be far more convenient for patients, and would save crucial staff time. Repeat prescriptions could be easily collected from the pharmacy and the ‘worry’ about losing paper prescriptions ended, he reckons, adding: ‘As part of our long-term plan, I want the NHS to become the most advanced healthcare system in the world. Electronic prescribing both saves GPs’ time and helps to give patients a better, more seamless experience and ensures every pound of taxpayers’ money is spent effectively.’
In a speech last month, he said: ‘Let this be clear: tech transformation is coming. Our health system is uniquely placed to become the most advanced health system in the world, one where technology addresses the user need, making care better for patients, but, just as importantly, making life easier for staff.’
Almost 7,000 GPs in England are already able to upload prescriptions electronically, a huge increase on the figure of just eight back in 2010. Over the same period, the number of pharmacies sites boasting an electronic prescriptions service has mushroomed from only 18 to more than 11,500 – leaving just 85 without it.
Healthwatch Torbay’s Digital Project, by the way, is aimed at the many people unaware of or unable to access health and social care resources on the internet, things like booking a doctor’s appointment, to ordering a prescription, or to self-referring.
We want to help people who are ‘digitally excluded’ by providing them with a route to join the online world and access all local digital health and social care resources and to that end, as some of you may have heard, we’re delivering a free local programme of online training and support.
If you want to know more, call free on 08000 520 029, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.healthwatchtorbay.org.uk You could even just pop into the Healthwatch offices in Paignton’s Library and Information centre, open from Monday to Friday.
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