An electronic prescriptions service which enables medics to instantly request medicines from pharmacies is set to be made available to NHS urgent care centres.
People who visit the city’s walk-in centres and minor injuries units or call the NHS 111 service will be able to have prescriptions sent directly to chemists instead of relying on paperwork.
It means people who use NHS out-of-hours services can be directed to the nearest 24-hour pharmacy where their prescription will be sent for collection.
GPs in Leeds already have access to the system under plans to computerise prescriptions for all patients.
Plans to extend it to urgent care settings were announced by NHS Digital after successful pilot projects were carried out in London and the East Midlands.
A Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) spokeswoman said: “As part of the national and local review of urgent care we will be working closely with NHS Digital and system providers to introduce electronic prescribing in urgent care settings.
“At this stage we can’t confirm when this will be available in urgent care settings in Leeds as the national pilot has only recently been concluded.”
Leeds was among the first places to adopt the electronic prescriptions service for GPs.
The spokeswoman added: “Leeds has a strong track record in delivering successful health and care technology solutions.
“As a result of this Leeds was an early adopter for the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) for GPs and community pharmacies.
“This means that all our practices have been set up for the EPS and the majority of pharmacies in Leeds can accept electronic prescriptions where the patient chooses to use this service.”
NHS Digital said that initially, the new service would be made available to treatment centres using the Advanced Adastra computer system.
It is hoped the faster processing of prescriptions will enable NHS staff to spend more time with patients.
Dr Vishen Ramkisson, senior clinical lead at Leeds-based NHS Digital, said: “This is a significant step in extending the benefits of digital prescribing, providing a faster, better and more efficient system for patients, doctors and pharmacists.
“Faster processing of prescriptions from NHS 111 and out of hours will enable those services to treat more urgent cases or spend more time treating each patient.
“And a patient who requires nothing more than a short-term supply of an existing medication will no longer need a face-to-face consultation with a clinician.”
REDUCING RELIANCE ON HOSPITALS
The extension of electronic prescriptions is designed to reduce A&E attendances among people who been unable to get medications.
Health bosses say it should also save time in pharmacies as patients avoid having to queue up and hand over paper prescriptions. The next stage of the project will see the Electronic Presciption Service (EPS) made available in NHS integrated urgent care settings.
Pilot projects involved 73 prescribers and 257 dispensers of medicines.