The first award of grants has been made to two digital community pharmacy system suppliers by the Community Pharmacy System Innovation Fund, set up to support the delivery of an electronic prescription service (EPS) in Wales.

The grants will help suppliers to develop their systems to use an electronic prescription service and receive prescriptions digitally instead of on paper.

It will also support the suppliers to introduce innovative changes to their systems that will result in paperless dispensing and integration with the new NHS Wales app when it is launched.

PharmacyX and TITAN PMR are the first two companies that have already been awarded grants and can now begin to develop their systems.

Sarah Taylor, sector intelligence lead at Life Sciences Hub Wales, said: “We’d like to congratulate PharmacyX and TITAN PMR on being awarded funding to help deliver EPS in Wales, and welcome further applications from other digital community pharmacy system suppliers.

“Digital prescribing has a wide range of benefits for patients, staff and the environment, so we’re looking forward to seeing the future outcomes of this funding opportunity.”

The introduction of an EPS in primary care in Wales will make the process of prescribing and dispensing medicines safer, easier and more efficient for patients and health care professionals.  

The work is a key part of the Digital Medicines Transformation Portfolio which is hosted by Digital Health and Care Wales. It will enable prescribers – such as GPs – to send prescriptions electronically to a dispenser – such as a community pharmacy – of the patient’s choice.

Led by Life Sciences Hub Wales, in partnership with the Digital Medicines Transformation Portfolio, on behalf of Welsh Government, the Community Pharmacy System Innovation Fund, which opened in early April, offers three tiers to bid across: 

  • Tier One: To develop and implement the changes necessary to community pharmacy systems to enable EPS in a Wales-based pharmacy through an assured patient medication record. This tier must be completed successfully before suppliers can apply for tiers two and three funding.
  • Tier Two: To allow for paperless processes in community pharmacies (notwithstanding the right of a patient to request a paper prescription if they wish).
  • Tier Three: To be able to send push notifications to the NHS Wales App to advise that a person’s medicines have been prepared and are ready for collection, along with the location of the pharmacy and its opening hours. 

Professor Hamish Laing, senior responsible officer for Digital Medicines Transformation Portfolio, said: “It is fantastic to see this fund moving so quickly and making its first awards just a few weeks after it was launched.

“We look forward to receiving applications from more suppliers in the next funding round so that we can accelerate the developments in community pharmacies right across Wales.”

The Community Pharmacy System Innovation Fund is available to suppliers of digital community pharmacy systems in Wales. It remains open for applications until October 2024, although the organisers reserve the right to close it early should all funding be assigned.