Page last updated at 14:13 GMT, Monday, 10 November 2008

New solution to prescription wait

(left to right)  Pharmacy Technician Lynne Campbell and Principal Pharmacist Jann Davison
Pharmacy technician Lynne Campbell and principal pharmacist Jann Davison

A new dispensing scheme in Forth Valley has halved prescription waiting times for patients being discharged from hospital, it has been claimed.

NHS Forth Valley said the electronic system, designed and developed locally, was the first of its kind in Scotland.

Doctors key prescription details into a ward computer which is relayed to pharmacists using a traffic light system.

It means up to 90% of drugs are ready for patients in under two hours.

That compares with an average four-hour wait experienced by those leaving hospital before the system was introduced.

Clinical checks on the prescription can also be made remotely by a pharmacist equipped with a portable palm held device or laptop computer.

Jann Davison, NHS Forth Valley's principal pharmacist, said: "This has been a really exciting process.

"The idea is a simple one but the benefits to both patients and staff are proving to be tremendous.

"By having access to portable computers information is now at their fingertips, where previously they would have had to carry books or store vast amounts of information in their head."

The health authority said the system was now being considered by others across Scotland.

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