Those bits of paper your GP gives you to get medications from your Pharmacist are changing. Scripts are now DIGITAL!
GPs can now send prescriptions to pharmacists electronically as an interim solution during the pandemic.
As part of the COVID-19 National Health Plan telehealth model, the new interim measure allows GPs to send prescriptions electronically to pharmacists without having to mail out a physical copy of the original paper prescription with a GP’s wet-ink signature.
Patients can then have their script filled and medication delivered to their door, helping to minimise the risk of virus transmission in accordance with social-distancing measures.
‘It’s certainly going to make it easier for practices, because they are being inundated with pharmacists asking them to post prescriptions to them,’
‘I know at my practices it’s causing substantial concern.
‘We’re getting calls every day from pharmacists saying, “I can’t dispense unless you send me the hardcopy paper”, and we’re saying, “We don’t have the resources to keep running out and buying stamps, and it’s just not safe to put staff in that position”.
‘So we’ve had a bit of a stalemate for the last few weeks and this is a great outcome in the short term.’
As outlined in guidelines issued by the Department of Health (DoH), GPs will be required to do as follows:
- Create a paper prescription during a telehealth consultation. This will need to be signed as normal or using a valid digital signature
- Create a clear copy of the entire prescription (a digital image such as a photo or PDF including the barcode where applicable)
- Send via email, fax or text message directly to the patient’s pharmacy of choice
Schedule 8 and 4(D) medicines such as opioids and fentanyl are not part of the interim arrangement.
While not legally required, the DoH encourages practices that are able to continue sending the original script to pharmacies to do so as soon as possible. All other practices must retain the paper prescription for a period of up to two years for audit and compliance purposes.
This is a great step forwards!