Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust expects to begin implementing CSC’s Medchart electronic prescribing system early next year.

Speaking to Digital Health News, Elaine Weston, chief pharmacist at the mental health trust, said the plan is to start installing the system at The Newsam Centre in January followed by two other main inpatient sites in Leeds and then the trust’s community units.

By this time, Weston expects the system to be able to interface with the trusts electronic patient record, Civica’s Paris.

The trust picked Medchart as part of a joint tender with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Weston said the system was seen as the best fit for both organisations and was the most intuitive of the ones they looked at. 

To support the implementation of the system at Leeds and York Partnership the trust will make use of £200,000 it received from the Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards Technology Fund, which provides central funding support for new technologies. The trust will provide matched funding.

“It seemed silly not to bid for it,” said Weston. “So we’ve used that money to buy the hardware that is required. And our matched funding is buying the actual license and implementation part.” 

The main driver for moving to an electronic method of prescribing medicines is patient safety, she said.

“It’s a case of trying to catch up with the digital world. E-prescribing provides a safer prescribing and checking system.”

Particular safety benefits include no more illegible prescriptions and the “eradication” of missed doses because of the alerts nurses will receive.

Weston mentioned several other advantages offered by the use of Medchart, including the ability to pull reports on the use of medicines at the touch of a button. 

“We have a lot of sites scattered around Leeds and York so geography wise it can be difficult travelling between sites. Once we have electronic prescribing you can be anywhere and you can view prescription charts of patients. It will make life so much easier.”

Leeds and York Partnership is the first mental health trust in England to select CSC’s Medchart, which is in place at several acute trusts in the country.

Weston said that “in many respects” it is much simpler to provide electronic prescribing at mental health trust as there is no need for intravenous medicines or operating theatres.

The use of electronic prescribing is part of wider plans to simplify medicines administration at Leeds and York Partnership, which currently operates pharmacies in locations at The Mount and one at Becklin Centre.

Recent board papers say the trust is working on a plan to reduce this to one centralised pharmacy in Leeds and is currently engaged sourcing a suitable location.