Reporting EPS R2 system issues

Reporting EPS R2 system issues

It is essential that all system issues, however minor, are reported to pharmacy system suppliers. In some cases, the problem may be resolved over the phone or via email, for example if it is a training or local system configuration problem. In other cases, the supplier may need to add it on to their work-plan as a future development. Where the supplier can’t resolve a problem, for example, if it is an issue with the GP system, the pharmacy supplier can:

(a) escalate the issue to the NHS Digital (previously HSCIC) national service desk (NSD) to co-ordinate resolution; and

(b) report progress back to you.

Remember to obtain a helpdesk reference number. If the supplier does not resolve the problem in a satisfactory way, having the reference number is essential so that the problem can be escalated via other routes. A diagram of the service model can be seen below:

EPS service model - no title

Another issue reported has been patients arriving at the pharmacy but their electronic prescription is not there as expected. The advice on locating a missing EPS prescription mentions the Tracker can assist with resolving the issue.

Identifying issues with the national EPS systems

PSNC recommends pharmacy staff use both:

1) Spine alerts: Staff can register to receive text or email alerts in the event that the national NHS Digital systems that support EPS are experiencing issues.

2) Status Checker (Smartcard required): Staff can save as a ‘favourite’ website, NHS Digital service status checker webpage which provides information about the status of the national systems.

The Service Review

The NHS Digital conducted a comprehensive review of the service model in place to report issues and have these resolved.  They sought feedback from PSNC, pharmacy contractors, and other stakeholders. The review produced key recommendations such as those listed further below. Implementation of these service review recommendations is one of the dependencies before the next phase of EPS.

NHS Digital to monitor all EPS local systems

The real-time monitoring of all system issues (e.g. slow running of particular pharmacy systems) will help support resolution.

Visibility of system status

The status of all EPS systems to be made available as a clear dashboard to all end-users via the service status checker webpage mentioned above.

Pharmacy system suppliers’ platform/process to be reviewed

These reviews will look at:

  • areas of risk for resilience and produce an improvement plan to resolve vulnerabilities; and
  • suppliers’ processes in relation to recognised best practices for managing IT services.

System functionality to be reviewed

A review of changes requested to national systems. Agreed changes will be built into a work-off plan.

Pharmacy system supplier agreements to be established

New Service Level Agreements would include:

  • fix and response times for pharmacy staff who raise issues;
  • availability targets; and
  • systems to be managed in accordance with recognised quality standards (ITIL/ISO).

NHS Digital to co-ordinate resolution of high severity service incidents

Following the agreements mentioned above in point (5), the NHS Digital’s ‘Service Bridge’ (the co-ordination facility for national service incidents) to act as command and control during high severity service incidents e.g. EPS local system non-availability or inadequate performance. During a high severity incident NHS Digital to issue clear, consistent and timely communication to all stakeholders and adhere to agreed escalation paths.

Related resources

For more on business continuity (EPS) click on the link buttons below:

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