The Government of Jersey’s Health and Community Services (HCS) has implemented a new electronic prescription system at the Jersey General Hospital’s pharmacy, which it aims to reduce waiting times and improve patient safety.

Most prescriptions will now be submitted electronically to the hospital pharmacy via the electronic prescribing and medicines administration (EPMA) system with majority of patients no longer receiving paper prescriptions.

The Government of Jersey said in a statement, published on 3 May 2024, that the change is part of its “ongoing commitment to streamlining processes and improving medication safety and operational efficiency”.

It added that the move to electronic prescriptions offers multiple benefits for patients, such as reducing queuing by eliminating the need for patients to manually drop off their prescriptions and making it easier for the pharmacy to identify urgent prescriptions and start processing these before patients arrive to collect them.

Also it said that electronic prescriptions will improve medication safety because electronic prescribing reduces the likelihood of prescribing errors and alerts clinicians to risks related to drug interactions and other potential medication problems through clinical decision support.

Kevin Smith, pharmacy services manager at Jersey General Hospital, said: “The pharmacy dispenses around 800 items a day, with up to 250 people attending at the outpatient pharmacy every working day.

“For our small, dedicated pharmacy team, electronic prescribing makes it easier and safer to screen, process, and supply medication. And because pharmacy staff are not trying to decipher handwritten prescriptions, the risk of medication errors is reduced.”

Professor Enda McVeigh, consultant gynaecologist, said: “This transition to electronic prescribing and medicines administration is a significant milestone in our digital health transformation programme, which aims to provide islanders with a safer and more efficient healthcare experience.”

There are a few exemptions where paper prescriptions will continue to be issued, with HCS confirming that the relevant services are aware of what exemptions apply.

As part of its digital transformation, Jersey General Hospital implemented System C’s critical care solution, CareFlow in its neonatal intensive care unit (ICU) in May 2023, before being extended to the adult ICU in November 2023.

An audit report released in February 2024 by auditor general Lynn Pamment raised concerns about the levels of engagement from senior clinicians and managers with the implementation Jersey’s electronic patient record, which is planned to be rolled out by 2025.