More than 60% of payment claims for acute prescriptions in Scotland will be made electronically by May, according to the Scottish Government.

The health department’s primary care division has released details of its latest incentive scheme for community pharmacies, to encourage take up of electronic claims.

Pharmacists will be able to claim £450 when more than 30% of claims are made electronically in a month and a further £450 when more than 60% of claims are made this way.

Dr Jonathan Pryce, deputy director of the primary and community care division, said that he expected all community pharmacists to claim for more than 60% of prescriptions in the month of May.

Scotland is rolling out electronic transmission of prescriptions  in two stages, with acute prescriptions delivered via the Acute Medication Service (eAMS) and services to patients with long term conditions delivered via the Chronic Medication Service, which is due to go live later this year.

Four out of five GPs and community pharmacists were enabled for ETP by the end of 2008, with the eAMS enabling electronic transfer of electronic prescriptions and electronic claims by pharmacists.

In a circular to NHS boards, Dr Pryce said the programme of eAMS enablement of both community pharmacy and GP IT systems was well advanced.

He added: “Some contractors will be in a position to achieve significant rates of electronic claims during March 2009.

"It is anticipated that the roll out process will be completed in sufficient time that all contractors should be able to meet the target that the number of electronic claims in the month of May 2009 will exceed 60% of the total number of prescription forms.”

The deadline for claiming the £900 incentive payments is 8 June to avoid penalising pharmacists whose IT supplier has yet to install eAMS compliant software.