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Pharmacies across England lack digital resources, reveals study

Health & NHS

Pharmacies across England lack digital resources, reveals study

Over half of pharmacies in England experience at least one IT shutdown each month while more than 40 per cent said they have a poor mobile phone signal and limited internet connectivity, according to the latest survey by leading pharmacy bodies and digital systems suppliers.

The Community Pharmacy IT Group reported an overwhelming majority – 83 per cent – favour a move to paperless but many pharmacy teams lack digital resources. Sixty per cent said they were aware of the NHS’s paperless goals and 40 per cent were not.

Eighty per cent agreed that mobile devices would improve efficiency in their pharmacy but the majority did not have a laptop or tablet device. Over 30 per cent said their EPS and/or PMR system had failed for more than two hours on one occasion in the last two months and nearly 17 per cent said that had happened two to three times.

Nearly three per cent said no EPS back-ups were made each month, 10 per cent said one to four, 35 per cent said 16 to 30 and over 14 per cent said more than 30.

Forty-eight per cent said they “strongly” agreed that mobile devices in pharmacies could improve efficiency and just 5.49 per cent did not agree. Over 90 per cent said their pharmacy does not have a dispensing robot and over eight per cent said it did while 52 per cent said one EPS token printer is used in their pharmacy, 35 per cent said two, eight per cent said three and three per cent said four.

Sixty-eight per cent said their pharmacy had no tablet-sized mobile devices, 24 per cent said it had one and three per cent said two, while 50 per cent said they did not have a laptop and 40 per cent said they had one.

Less than one per cent said no desktop computer terminals were connected to the PMR in their pharmacy, 6.59 per cent said one, 29 per cent said two and 28 per cent said three. Over 63 per cent said there were no pharmacy-owned smartphones in their pharmacy on a typical day.

The survey ran from late 2021 until September this year. The Group was formed in 2017 by the PSNC, National Pharmacy Association, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Company Chemists’ Association and Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies who meet with pharmacy system suppliers, NHS Business Services Authority, NHS Digital and NHS England.

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Health & NHS