Community pharmacy representatives have set up an IT forum with pharmacy IT suppliers to discuss concerns and possible solutions to IT issues including implementation of the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS).

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) put together the forum which includes representation from all the pharmacy record system suppliers as well as broadband suppliers and transaction brokers.

Gareth Jones, NHS liaison manager for the NPA, told EHI Primary Care that topics discussed at the first meeting included problems with barcode scanning and download times for prescriptions via the EPS.

He sad: “Our survey showed that download times of 30 to 40 seconds were quite common and although we are still in release one at the moment it was agreed that 10 seconds would be more acceptable in a busy pharmacy.”

Jones said the NPA was in a good position to raise concerns with suppliers as its information line currently receives 700 calls a day from pharmacists.

He added: “We wanted to find a way to feedback the information we were getting to suppliers.”

The NPA said the forum was designed to promote dialogue and communication throughout the supply chain, allowing early identification of issues and prompt intervention, reducing the potential of adverse impact on NPA members.

James Salmon, NPA Head of IT, said: “We know from survey results and direct contact with NPA members that concerns about IT are now moving up the pharmacy agenda – and it’s right that it is. IT will soon be business critical for our members with a significant impact on practice. Our work is entirely focused on making sure the implementation of IT benefits community pharmacy – this forum augments our own knowledge and intelligence allowing us to be more effective in representing our members concerns.”