Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is piloting e-prescribing on one of its wards before rolling it out across the trust.

Steven Bazire, a consultant pharmacist at the trust, told EHI that a pilot using the Ascribe electronic prescribing and medicines administration system went live in June. It will be rolled out across the trust in a phased approach.

“The new e-prescribing system is being piloted with a small sample of patients on a ward, with the whole ward due to go live later this month,” he explained.

The e-prescribing system is integrated with Ascribe’s electronic medicines management and pharmacy stock control robotic dispensing.

This means a prescription will be screened by a pharmacist and automatically supplied without the need for manual transcription.

Bazire said the potential benefits of e-prescribing are huge.

“The level of controls and flexibility is now quite remarkable and also robust. The potential benefits via management of prescribing, lack of transcription and no faxing of prescriptions are going to be enormous,” he said.

The system also integrates with the mental health trust’s other IT systems and allows for auditing and analysis of treatments to encourage best practice.

A spokesperson from Norfolk and Suffolk told EHI earlier this year that the trust, which runs several different clinical systems, is working towards a single patient administration system and, ultimately, to a full electronic patient record and paperless system.

One of the options the trust is exploring is taking CSC’s Lorenzo EPR, available to it under the government’s revised contract with CSC.

“The scoping work for this has begun and Lorenzo is being explored, though no formal decision will be made until Autumn 2013,” said the trust spokesperson.

The government recently announced a new £260m fund aimed at boosting the adoption of e-prescribing and electronic working in hospitals.

Trusts must apply by the end of this month and details of the Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards fund are online.