Thirteen trusts are to receive a share of £78m funding to support the expansion of electronic prescribing and medicine administration in the NHS.
The money will be split between a mixture of acute, mental health and community trusts spread across the north and south of England.
Funding has been allocated to organisations deemed to have not made progress with implementing electronic prescribing, as outlined by previous health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, in February. It will be distributed over the next three years until 2021, with £16m funding available for 2018/19.
The first regional allocations are:
- Bolton NHS Foundation Trust – £1,020,000
- The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust – £750,000
- Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust – £1,600,000
- Humber NHS Foundation Trust – £300,000
- Northern Lincolnshire And Goole NHS Foundation Trust – £940,000
- Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – £820,000
- University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust – £2,190,000
- Barts Health NHS Trust – £1,700,000
- East London NHS Foundation Trust – £740,000
- East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust – £1,450,000
- Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust – £1,170,000
- Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust – £1,620,000
- East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust – £1,700,000
Additional trusts have been invited to bid for funding before the end of January 2019.
Health minister, Stephen Hammond, said: “As part of the long-term plan for the NHS, we not only want to harness technology to make it one of the most advanced healthcare systems in the world, but crucially to improve patient care.
“The funding provided for these trusts will help to drive these changes to the patient experience, but will also aid our hard-working and dedicated staff.
“The introduction of electronic prescribing is not only known to reduce medication errors, but also frees up time for staff by moving away from archaic paper-based systems.”
Electronic prescribing – or e-prescribing – is regarded as crucial for improving patient safety by reducing medication errors associated with hand-written notes.
Speaking in February 2018, Jeremy Hunt claimed that between four and five people died every day as a result of errors with drug prescriptions
The Department of health and Social Care suggests that electronic prescribing and medicine administration (ePMA) systems will cut potentially deadly medication errors by up to 50%, as well as help contribute to more comprehensive electronic patient record systems and reduce work duplication associated with hand-written processes.
Another anticipated boon of ePMA is the generation of information that can contribute to NHS data sets, from which research and population health insights can be drawn.
Andrew Davies, Director of Hospital Pharmacy, NHS Improvement said: “There is evidence that electronic prescribing and medicines administration systems will improve safety for patients, reducing the risk of harm and ensuring high quality efficient patient care which is as safe as possible.
“I’m delighted so many trusts have submitted successful bids to accelerate the introduction of these systems to provide safer, better quality patient care.”
In August, NHS Digital announced that every eligible GP practice in London had introduced the electronic prescription service.