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Hope new system will reduce medication errors and hospital queues

Hope new system will reduce medication errors and hospital queues

Tuesday 07 May 2024

Hope new system will reduce medication errors and hospital queues

Tuesday 07 May 2024

Errors arising from misinterpretation of handwritten prescriptions, potential risks related to certain drugs interacting, and long queues in the hospital are expected to be alleviated by a new electronic prescribing system.

As of last Wednesday, most patients' prescriptions are no longer being provided in paper form and are instead being submitted electronically to the hospital pharmacy via the 'Electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration' (EPMA) system.

The pharmacy at the General Hospital has been in the spotlight recently with many islanders taking to social media to highlight queues of up to two hours and other negative experiences.

But it's believed that the new system will help reduce wait times because patients will no longer need to drop off paper prescriptions, while it will also be easier for staff at the pharmacy – which dispenses around 800 items a day to roughly 250 people – to identify urgent prescriptions and start processing themes before patients arrive to collect them.

Health also said the new system should help enhance safety because it can alert clinicians to risks arising from different types of medication interacting with each other.

Kevin Smith, Pharmacy Services Manager, also noted that, "because Pharmacy staff are not trying to decipher handwritten prescriptions, the risk of medication errors is reduced".

Health Minister Tom Binet recently said that a number of other steps had been taken to alleviate the pressure on the pharmacy, including additional investment, and that some staff had also reversed their decisions to leave. Currently, one pharmacy job – a Lead Technician/Deputy Dispensary Manager – is being advertised on the government's website.


Islanders who need to collect non-urgent prescriptions are asked to call the Hospital Pharmacy in advance on 442627 for confirmation that they have received the prescription and when it will be ready for collection. The busiest times are between 12.00 and 14.00.

For islanders still given paper prescriptions, a drop-off box is located in front of the Pharmacy counter.


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