All acute trusts are expected to get “some money" from a new £260m e-prescribing fund, but will have to match the investment, NHS England says.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced last Friday that £260m would be made available for hospitals to increase their use of e-prescribing and electronic patient records.
NHS England put out a release announcing the fund yesterday and media enquiries are now being handled by NHS England.
An NHS England spokesperson confirmed to EHI that trusts would be expected to match any money they received.
Also, that the fund was planned on the basis of making “some money available to all trusts."
“Further details of how to apply for the fund will be made available shortly, but we do not want to exclude trusts that have already started work on this important agenda,” the spokesperson said.
“Local NHS providers will be able to choose the best systems for them as long as they can demonstrate that these will lead to better, safer care.
“All electronic patient records systems adopted must enable secure sharing of data and comply with NHS England’s requirement for modern, safe standards of record-keeping by 2014-15.”
The £260m in funding is part of the ‘department’s 2010 spending review’ settlement.
“Not all capital funding is committed at the beginning of the year therefore capacity exists to fund investments such as this,” the spokesperson explained.
NHS England also confirmed that the fund was to support e-prescribing in the acute sector.
The DH statement released last week had described e-prescribing as: “computer generated prescriptions sent by doctors directly to pharmacies, linked to barcodes unique to each patient."
This caused some confusion as it seemed to describe the electronic prescription service used for sending prescriptions from GPs to pharmacies in the community.
However, NHS England said this meant computer generated prescriptions sent directly to pharmacies in hospitals.
“In no way does this fund replace the EPS [Electronic Prescriptions Service] system. Its focus is on the acute sector, complementing the work of the EPS programme which is primarily in the primary care sector,” a statement said.