Pharmaceutical wholesaler UniChem and its retail arm Alliance Pharmacy has announced that it has selected virtual networking company Sirocom to provide a managed broadband service to 1,000 of its pharmacies.

The broadband connections are being implemented to enable the roll out of Electronic Prescribing Services by connecting allowing its pharmacies to connect to the NHS N3 network. Pharmacy software supplier Cegedim will provide its NHS Connecting for Health compliant Patient Medical Record Software.

Sirocom will provide a fully managed broadband service needed to run the new EPS, which is designed to accelerate the prescription dispensing and reimbursement process. Cegedim will provide a compliant pharmacy Patient medical System.

The contract award follows Sirocom delivering broadband connectivity to an initial 1,000 of Unichem’s Alliance Pharmacy sites.

Anthony Roberts, IT director of UniChem, explained that broadband connections to N3 are crucial to the success of having their pharmacies linked to the EPS. "In order to implement the Electronic Prescription Service, pharmacists require a compliant Patient Medical Record System, provided by Cegedim, and an N3 connection approved by Connecting for Health."

Roberts said: "We are offering our customers a one-stop IT solution which can be tailored to the individual needs of every pharmacy, taking away any hassle and confusion."

He added: "We’re working with a partner that has a strong track record in the mass deployment of broadband in the retail sector. This is important because the service is critical to the smooth and profitable operation of the company."

Simon Rogan, CEO of Sirocom, added: "EPS radically changes and accelerates the dispensing and reimbursement of prescriptions for pharmacists." Sirocom will provide the hardware and take care of its installation and maintenance, as well as training and IT support.

Rogan added: "Broadband is transforming the way of delivering applications and automating processes. It’s finally become a business grade, high performing service that is dependable and competitively priced. And in this respect, it is ideal for enabling groundbreaking applications like the Electronic Prescription Service."