A fourth NHS trust is to implement iSoft’s electronic prescribing and medicines administration system.

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust has signed a contract to deploy the ePMA system, following Pennine Acute, Stockport and Leicester trusts.

The announcement comes within one month of both Pennine Acute and Leicester going live. Stockport plans to go live early this year.

The trust’s director of pharmacy, Andrew Alldred, said it decided to take the system from iSoft, a CSC company, because of concerns about patient safety.

“With the proliferation of new drugs, many with similar sounding names, prescribing has become a hugely complex task that is fraught with risk," he said.

“Paper-based medicines systems can no longer be relied on to meet the demanding needs of a modern and clinically complex hospital environment.”

The system will be integrated with the trust’s existing IT systems, including its iCS portal, laboratory, and electronic discharge systems.

Adrian Stevens, the managing director for iSoft, a CSC company in the UK and Ireland, said Harrogate had achieved an ‘impressive’ range of clinical engagement, which made it a welcome addition to the list of early adopters of ePMA.

“We are looking forward to continuing our strategic relationship to deliver real benefits for the trust’s staff and patients," he said.

“Research suggests that at least 10% of medication orders contain errors, costing the NHS in excess of £500m a year.

"[So] there has never been a greater need for ePMA solutions to help improve the timeliness, appropriateness and accuracy of the prescribing and administration of medicines.”