Page last updated at 00:44 GMT, Tuesday, 14 July 2009 01:44 UK

E-prescription system goes live

Pharmacists believe the system will lead to fewer errors

Almost all of Scotland's GP practices now have electronic links to community pharmacies in the first system of its kind in the UK.

The electronic Acute Medication Service (eAMS) allows prescriptions to be transmitted directly, cutting down on paperwork and reducing risk of error.

Patients are still given paper prescriptions but these contain a unique barcode.

This brings up their details when scanned by a pharmacist.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "We have a very successful prescribing system in Scotland, with around one million paper prescriptions written by GPs every week and dispensed in community pharmacies.

"But we can always do more and that's what eAMS will achieve."

Patient safety

She said 99% of surgeries were now linked to pharmacies, and 90% of prescriptions were submitted electronically.

"This shows the demand among GPs and pharmacists to work together to make the best use of the latest technology to improve services for patients," she said.

The system uses universal codes for medicines, which should improve efficiency.

Community Pharmacy Scotland chairman Martin Green said: "The introduction of eAMS further contributes to safe systems of work, by improving the communication of information between GP practices and community pharmacies."

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